Sunday, June 20, 2010

Between Trips

Angelique has returned yesterday from our first six day trip of the season, which took us as far as Mount Desert Island (the Island on which Acadia National Park is located). We board this afternoon at around 5:00pm and then head out for another six days. A busy summer!

The first day of our last trip, June 14th, we left Camden and sailed east, our destination being Carver Cove and the "Gam". A gam is a traditional 'get-together' of tall ships and this gathering was graced by a total of 10 of Maine's historic windjammers. As we sailed, many of the other boats fell into a long line, and it was pretty amazing to see six or so of us coasting along together. We arrived at Carver Cove second next to Victory Chimes, a massive (170 feet overall) historic landmark, three masted schooner. She is the schooner which graces Maine's state quarter I believe. I think we are the second largest ship in the fleet, and so the two of us formed the center of the raft. By the time all the boats arrived, we had 10 traditional tall ships rafted together, ranging from boats like the Chimes and French built in 1900 and 1871 respectively, to the American Eagle and Angelique, built a century later! As you can imagine, a rather unique experience. The boats were rafted in this order:

Stephen Taber
American Eagle
Victory Chimes
Lewis R. French
Nathaniel Bowditch
J.E. Riggin

The evening ended with the raft breaking apart, and everyone anchoring in Carver Cove for the night, listening to music being played on many different boats.

June 15th arrived full of sun and wind, and we had a relatively lazy morning eating breakfast, polishing brass etc. Hauled anchor and began our trek toward Bass Harbor on Mount Desert Island. Hit 9 knots with everything set, and boy does she move! 9 knots on Angelique feels like nothing! I hear we are the fastest in the fleet, especially upwind because of her full keel. She feels so right when she sails, great movement. We also caught our first lobster trap of the season on the shaft, which happens so often that Mike actually has installed small spinning blades that turn with the shaft to cut the lines.

When we set sail in the morning, it is rare that we ever really know where we will anchor for the evening. This day we knew where we would end up: wherever the Victory Chimes had anchored for the evening. Apparently the Captain of the Chimes is, with Mike, a huge Boston Celtics fan and has a satellite television in his cabin. So while we entertained guests, Mike watched the Celtics with the captains of two other boats. As Captain Dave would say "when you own YOUR own schooner..."

June 16th. Nice day, sunshine and good wind. We beat our way up Blue Hill Bay just for some good sailing, and finished the evening with a lobster bake on a small island near the home of Wooden Boat Magazine.

June 17th. Cloudy, windy, rainy, but a good day. We took trips to shore with Capi, (our 16 person row boat) to experience Wooden Boat. This is a collection of buildings in which people can go to learn traditional boat building and restoration skills. We watched classes on drafting and also bronze casting. Fascinating stuff but I like sailing the boats better!

Loaded up from Wooden Boat and sailed down "The Reach" toward Deer Island, Buck's Harbor direction. Some excitement as we had to lower topmasts in order to get under the Deer Isle bridge. Usually we only have to lower the maintop, as the mizzen can clear, but in this case we approached the bridge at a very high tide. I had to rush up the mizzen at the last minute to take out the fid and chalk (what hold up the topmasts) to lower it about six feet. From where I say on the mizzen top, it did not look like we cleared the bridge by more than five feet. After we had gone under the bridge and lifted both tops back up, the sun came out and we had the most pleasant sail to date, continuing on until about 7pm before dropping anchor in Ruder Cove on the east side of Islesboro Island. We could see the chimney's of one of John Travolta's homes from our anchorage, fun fact.

June 18th. An uneventful and relatively slow sail back to Camden, where we tied up safely to the dock and unloaded passengers the next day. Today I have time off until about 5:00pm when we board a new batch of passengers for our naturalist/photography trip. Should be interesting!

I am content with my life here, as I am still continuously learning and am keeping myself busy with any little project I can find whether it be whippings, splices, fixing black-water pumps with the mate (part of the not-so-glorious aspect of this job) or just enjoying the company of people.

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