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Maine windjammer cruises schooner Mary Day

Look to this Day

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image by JimDugan.com

Good morning Everyone,

For about 10 years Jen and I had the honor of hosting a Leadership Academy for a group of fraternity brothers from across the country. Each year Delta Tau Delta held several of these academies at different locations for chapter members from across the country. A couple days ago I received an email from one of the brothers who asked about a poem I recited each morning after I woke them up with a song. That poem was the Sanskrit Salutation to the Dawn. I first heard Tim Ellis recite this at every Sunday service beneath the towering “wolf” pine at Camp Chewonki. Tim’s version added a thought about the splendor of achievement; the idea of setting a goal for yourself each day.

Look to this Day!
For it is Life, the very Life of Life.
In its brief course lie all the
Verities and Realities of your Existence;
The Bliss of Growth,
The Glory of Action,
The Splendor of Beauty;
For Yesterday is but a Dream,
And Tomorrow is only a Vision;
But Today well lived makes every
Yesterday a Dream of Happiness, and every
Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.
Look well therefore to this Day!

I wake up everyday like a little kid. Hope fills my heart. Even though yesterday was incredibly challenging and just about wore me down to a nub I greet today with optimism. As my young “Delt’s” email reminded me, you never know how you will touch someone else’s life in the few brief moments you touch each other. Who knew that 20 years later he would still be thinking about how to live each day with heart, courage, compassion and authenticity because of a poem.

So as you venture out into the craziness carry this poem in your heart. Be the best you there is. Be the faith you wish everyone would keep. Practice making others smile and laugh. Dole out compliments to people you don’t know and see how they respond.

“And in the end, the love you take, is equal to, the love you make.” Lennon/McCartney, ’69

Be well. Do good.

The Sow’s Ear

Good morning…. I believe I look a little haggard but the Jen couldn’t resist the “golden light” streaming in through the window. Even a sow’s ear looks pretty good if you put enough ketchup on it. I am feeling tired right about now. Preparing for any sailing season (fit-out) is a monumental task. This year with the coronavirus restrictions is especially difficult. Everyone is asking whether we will be able to run cruises this summer.

Here’s what I know: The captains of the Maine Windjammer Association are working harder than ever to rise to this challenge. We are creating operational guidelines for proposal to the powers that be allowing us to board guests and get underway with all due regard to the Governor’s 14 day quarantine requirement. The entire process is going to require patience and perseverance. You think you have questions?

If we are successful creating a plan in concert with the state, we then need “buy-in” from you, our guests. I can’t count the number of times I have said to our guests, “We are only here because of you.” This has never been truer than right now. Hang in there with us. Be patient and help us get through these crazy times. Help us by working with whatever guidance is created. We are shooting for the beginning of Phase II (July 1) “Don’t give up the ship!” As soon as we have something in hand you’ll be the first to know. Hang in there everybody.

Be good to yourselves. Be good to each other. Be safe. Be well. Do good. P.S. Remember Shaggy from Scooby-doo? Anyone out there cut hair? And my nails? Egads!

Weather Whys

There is a phenomenon here along the Maine coast that I have observed over and over again. Weather comes with the tides. When I say weather I mean weather for which adequate clothing is a challenge. As they say, there is no such thing as bad weather. Just a bad choice of clothing. Take that with a grain of salt from the guy whose favorite summer challenge is to wear shorts from the first day we leave the dock to the day we take the sails off.

“A bone in her teeth” Image by Neal Parent

Today’s forecast for Penobscot Bay includes a storm warning with wind gusts up to 55 knots. I should explain: knots means nautical miles per hour. A nautical mile is about 6,076 feet; about 15% longer than a land mile. That same wind measured onland would be 63 miles an hour. Strong enough to blow the melted butter off a biscuit! Hurricane force winds start at 64 knots. Thank goodness we won’t have a hurricane in Maine today. Actually we seldom do have hurricanes here because of the Gulf of Maine’s cold water temperatures.

See how the wind is predicted to crest at 6 PM?

So the part of all of this that fascinates me is how the weather along the Maine coast moves with the tides. Take a look at the hourly forecast for Camden. It is readily apparent that the peak of the rain and wind occurs at about 6 o’clock tonite. Guess what time the high tide is?

From 8:00 o’clock this morning.

The peak of today’s “weather” and the high tide coincide quite closely. Were it not for daylight saving time (DST) the synchronicity would be even more apparent. Evidently, the weather doesn’t observe DST.

I can’t tell you how often this happens. Like all the time. In with the tide, out with the tide; meaning that most weather events here along the coast only last about 12 hours. The onshore breeze in the summer works the same way more often than not. If you had a birds-eye view of Penobscot Bay on a hot summer day (yes, we have days when the temperatures soar into the 70s) you could see the wind roll up the bay from Owls Head to Castine. Do you know how frustrating it is to be sitting becalmed for hours off the north end of North Haven and see a schooner “bringing the wind” with it blow by just as the wind line gets to you? I have had to start the yawl and burn dinosaur bones to push through the Oak I. Passage on more than one occasion. Hauling the yawl boat before you clear North Haven is sometimes a dicey proposition. Once up, no captain ever wants to put the yawl boat back down. No sooner do you put the boat down and then the wind is blowing 20. Sometimes just shaking the yawl boat falls can fool the wind into picking up.

So why does all of this work the way it does? I am no meteorologist but my best guess is water temperature. Every change of the tidal currents that flush water in and out of Penobscot Bay at 1-2 knots, depending on the phase of the moon and where you are in the bay, mixes things up. Cooler water and the air just above it from offshore gets carried into the bay on the tide. Warmer air aloft heads offshore to replace the cooler air being carried in in the tide. Warmer water inshore gets mixed with cooler water from offshore. Cooler water down deep mixes with warmer water near the surface (in the summer). Sometimes you can physically see the place where they meet.

And what creates the tides? The largest part is created by the gravitational pull of our moon. Do you suppose that the same gravitational force moves moisture, and the heat associated with it, that is stored in the atmosphere? The entire atmosphere is kinda like the ocean with currents circulating north and south, east and west, up and down. To think about it in 3-D is mind-boggling.

So I am going to leave this natural phenomenon right there. Again, I am not a scientist. I am only an observer and not an especially keen one at that. But I have seen these patterns repeat themselves so many times and yet it never ceases to amaze my child-like sense of wonder. I kinda like not knowing the full scientific explanation. I have amassed enough nickel knowledge to be dangerous. But there is still a lot in this world that goes on without any explanation whatsoever. Some things are best left to my favorite explanation… PFM (pure freakin’ magic).

Have a great day, Be well. Do good. And wash your hands when you’re finished.

Life in the Balance

I have photographed this piece of granite a thousand times. I captured this image on the last cruise of the 2019 season knowing for sure that the winter ice and cold temperatures would most likely roll this over the edge. I have been thinking this for the last 40 years since I first saw this rock.

I can’t be the only one who marvels at how precariously this rock is perched. There it is…seemingly all alone. And that is where this story gets interesting during these times of social distancing. We could quickly label this a glacial erratic but it isn’t really an erratic in the truest sense of the term. The boulder, while undoubtedly deposited during a period of glacial activity sometime before last Tuesday, is composed of the same granite as the surrounding landscape. Often the term erratic is used to describe glacially transported rocks of different composition than the surrounding landscape. There is an excellent example on the southeast side of Mark I off of Camden. I wish I had a picture of that to share. But don’t take my word for it. Come sailing so I can show it to you.

Fasten your seatbelts and hang with me for another moment. The beauty of the times we are living in is our ability to stay connected electronically. The challenge is to stay connected physically, emotionally, spiritually. Electronic communication is woefully inadequate as we strive for the fulfilling soul food of physical, emotional, and spiritual connection. It is all too easy to find ourselves feeling alone when in truth we are being supported by the very bedrock from which we derive our psychological existence. My heart aches when I think of how social distancing is making us feel isolated, maybe even unloved. Reaching out through email and text may be the best we can do for the moment. So I want you to print out my picture. When you look at this picture I want you to remember that you are loved and supported by the basic bedrock of your friends, family, and community.

So there you have it. If windjamming does nothing else, it allows me to unplug and take a moment to re-connect with the natural world. Ultimately I am actually re-connecting with my friends and neighbors. Friendships forged aboard the schooner while watching sunsets and bald eagles and beautiful scenery last a long time. So many of our guests keep coming back to see each other. They stay connected through the 51 weeks of the year they are not aboard. Take a moment today to shoot a very quick email or text or postcard to someone, anyone. Be the bedrock that supports the delicate balance in which we find ourselves living.

Have a great day. You are not alone. Be safe. Be well. Do good.

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Relax and Reset

I was reading an article recently about the value of 3 day weekends. That third day is the real moneymaker. That 3rd day is the day you sleep in, that you don’t have to answer to anyone, that your time is your own to do with what you will. And that 3rd day makes all the difference between feeling compressed to get everything done in a normal 2 day weekend.

So imagine a 3-day vacation. Imagine that you are a few hour’s drive from leaving everything behind. Could you live without your cell phone ringing for 3 days? Could you allow someone else to do the cooking; serving delicious homemade meals straight from the wood-fired cookstove? Could you handle immersing your senses in a world that has no straight lines, where your hair can be a mess and no one cares, where the smell of the ocean and spruce studded islands fill your nostrils? What would happen if the hardest decision you had to make in 3 days was whether to have another lobster while sitting on a rocky beach in Maine?

These are the questions you can dare dream to answer. With 100s of islands, dozens of hidden anchorages to choose from, 3 days and no itinerary we have an answer for each of those questions. Aboard the schooner Mary Day, that’s what we endeavor to do every time we leave the dock. We aim to really leave it all behind and take you off the beaten path to places where time has largely stood still. With no engine, the wind plays the music that fills our days. Our sails are quite literally the canvas on which we paint each unique adventure. With no street lights on a clear summer night, the stars above remind us of our place in the universe.

Camden, Maine is a pretty cool town to explore before and after the cruise. If you ask us, 3 days is never enough time to spend in Maine. But for most of us, that is about all we get in this crazy busy workaday world. You owe it to yourself to get the heck out of “Dodge” and treat yourself to a little adventurous getaway. We are 3.5 hours from downtown Boston, 7 hours from NY City. Or if you really want to chill we can pick you up at the bus stop a stone’s throw from the harbor. However you get here, use that time to do some deep breathing. Relax your way into the journey. If you allow yourself to turn off the “noise” this quick getaway might just be the best 3 days of your summer!

Check out our schedule of 3 day cruises this summer.

Be well. Do good.

Cheers,

Capt. Barry

Making Repairs

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Capt. Barry King repairing a cracked oar underway with the materials at hand.

Good morning everyone. The deck crew are getting stronger everyday and maybe a little too proficient at their rowing skills. Holy cow but they don’t know their own strength. So underway repairs were necessary before we could get ashore for this week’s lobster picnic. As you can see necessity was the mother of invention in this scenario. With some wood glue and a bit of fine black seine twine applied with a serving mallet we were able to affect repairs in an hours time. Needless to say the oar is stronger than ever. We did use it to get to the picnic that evening so I guess it works. The serving mallet helps the seine twine get pinging tight by adding just a little stretch to it acting like a clamp. We could see the wood glue squeezing through the serving. Leather was reapplied over the repair and this oar is ready for another few years, at least.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

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Using a serving mallet to lightly stretch the seine twine while repairing a cracked oar.

50 miles away and still at home

maine windjammer, schooner, schooner cruises, maine windjammers, windjammer cruisesGood morning everyone. We had a spectacular sail yesterday, our first day of the season’s first 6 day cruise, Puffins and the War of 1812. By days end we had 50 miles under our keel since departing from Camden and were treated to a beautiful sunset over Acadia National Park and Mt Desert. Along the way we had the pleasure of sailing close alongside the schooner Heritage. The sun light dancing on the water and graceful sheer of her rail kept all the cameras aboard Mary Day quite busy while we circumnavigated her port and starboard sides, stern and bow. They had their cameras pointing our way as well. I hope we get a chance to exchange images sometime.
Lighthouses and Acadia National Park
Anchored here at Little Cranberry Island, the small community of Islesford calls to be explored. I have been here many many times over the past 30 years but I never get enough. It feels like home to be anchored here. Guests are heading ashore right now to hike to the back beach where the tide washed-stones sing their clickety clack song to the waves. The small artists shops are not quite ready for our early arrival. I encouraged folks to visit the small church where light filtering through stained glass warms the soul. A skirmish occurred here in Hadlock Cove during the War of 1812 between the US and British. I have ordered the crew to take to the small boats to allow a reenactment for the guests, water balloons for armament. I am mindful of how blessed we are to be in this beautiful place with such good company and a view from the office window that can’t be beat.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.