For years I have been fascinated with sailing ships. I remember as a child being in a friend's home and seeing a famous picture of a huge sailing ship on the high seas similar to this one:
I would stare at that picture and wonder: Was it frightening to be on the water with no land in sight? Did the crew just take a storm in stride? Do they get as lonely in such vastness?
As I grew older, I loved watching sailboats on the Hudson River as they would catch the wind and move gracefully across the water. I was drawn to the peace they portrayed. When I married Jim we both enjoyed watching sailboats from the shore on various lakes. It had such an impact that us that we toyed with idea of owning such a craft.
When in Maine on an earlier visit, Jim and I took a sailing tour on a schooner called the East Wind. It was a real awakening for both of us. While, as passengers, we could relax somewhat (other than ducking when the boom passed over us!), we watched the crew go back and forth, taking the sails up and down and working hard to keep us on track. The scenery was beautiful, but we noticed the crew didn't seem to get much of a chance to enjoy it.
That trip changed my outlook. Once back on shore, I shared my revelation. It was not the sailing that drew me to the boat; it was the peaceful, serene portrait that it painted for me as I watched from the shore!
That cured me of my wanting to own or live on a sailboat. Sure the scenery was nice as long as you were the passenger. If you own the boat, it was a totally different story.
Through the years, we have watched many beautiful sailboats and sailing ships and were awed by the peace they gave us just watching.
When we first caught the Windjammers arriving in Boothbay one year, it was like a dream come true! We hadn't planned on being there for this annual festival, but we were so happy we were. First they appeared out of nowhere on the ocean, then they silently played hide and seek with us around the islands. We were shocked the next morning when we took our coffee out near the dock and saw them once again, sailing from Linekin Bay back out to sea!
It is a custom of sorts for the residents of Boothbay to host a clambake for the crew and their passengers the night before they sail into the harbor. Call it a lure to come back each year, but it works! When we were on the East Wind this past week the Captain and First Mate shared how they feasted on lobster and clams and corn and steamers. Wonder how one can become part of the crew? Hmmm, me thinks I will volunteer next year!
When we made our reservation for this trip, we were told we would be part of the Windjammer Parade due to the scheduling of our cruise on the East Wind. As it turned out, we were eating lunch at the Fisherman's Wharf when these awesome vessels sailed in. We had a perfect view of the harbor and many of the Windjammers docked right outside our window. We ended up packing up our lunch and taking in on the East Wind as the restaurant was very busy and took a good deal of time getting our sandwiches together. As we sailed around the harbor we took in the sights:
As we sailed farther out we saw this nice surprise:
While obviously not a Windjammer, this battleship sailed in to join the festivities. Only one boat was allowed close enough to load and unload the sailors. The rest of us were kept at bay by a most nonthreatening rubber dingy with three armed (?) sailors that circled the ship. Reminded me of a mouse running around and around trying to protect a lion!
Then we sailed out farther to see the various islands and get a view from the ocean toward Ocean Point where we were staying.
This humble little church stands out on the shore overlooking Boothbay and offers a quiet place of refuge for those that wish to escape the hustle and bustle of this touristy town.
One day I hope to spend an entire year in Maine. I understand many of the waterfront properties close down and board up for the winter, but there must be someplace to observe the ocean and still be able to hunker down when the winter winds start to howl. I would love that! Jim thinks I am crazy, so I guess it will be a while before I get my wish.
Maine - lobster, seafood, rocky shores, cold water, fog horns, lighthouses, and just an old fashioned way of living. A much slower pace of life. A great appreciation for the simple things, but a reliance on their brothers and sisters of the lower states to help them maintain their livelihood. Back to basics kind of living.
An appreciation for God and country and fellow man. I think we could all use a dose of that from time to time...more often than most get for sure!
While we weren't there for the Fourth of July celebrations, we did get to experience fireworks over the harbor. We had prime views from the park across from the church. It was so neat to see the shadows of the shipping vessels cast on the water from "the rockets red glare" and "the bombs bursting in air!"