My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Vacation: I'm Sailing!

Vacation Day # 7 continued ~ the 4th of July...

After our early morning stroll and breakfast in Searsport, the moment we had most anticipated - BW with eager excitement and me with unmitigated apprehension - was upon us. We headed to the neighboring town of Belfast for our first sailing adventure, an hour and a half morning sail aboard the Friendship Sloop Amity in Belfast Harbor.

It was BW's first time aboard a sailboat larger than 19', but he'd taught small boat sailing at Boy Scout Camp for three years as a teenager. I've been in plenty of canoes and a row boat or two, but my only experiences on any sort of seafaring vessel had also been in my teens, during my senior year of high school. The first consisted of a very stormy fall afternoon on a little Hobie-type catamaran operated by my boyfriend's older brother and his friend, both high as kites. They'd taken me out to take my mind off the recent death of my beloved horse, and it more or less worked since I was distracted by the total certainty that I was about to join her in the Great Beyond. I remember mostly being cold, soaked, and desperately clutching at every available thing there was to clutch. My second experience was the following spring, on my senior class trip aboard the now defunct car ferry/cruise ship Caribe, which sailed from Portland, ME to Yarmouth Nova Scotia (and, to my dismay, back to Portland!) My memories of that experience consist mainly of throwing up till I thought I would die, and frankly wishing I would. The less said about that adventure the better!

I lived on both coasts of this country most of my life and enjoy the beaches, but feel great awe and trepidation when it comes to the ocean and have never had any interest in sailing. BW, on the other hand, grew up in Oklahoma and Texas and would live aboard a sailboat if I ever got drunk enough to say "Sure, why not?" So he was excited to go sailing, while I was not only reliving my own seasick misery on the Caribe but also channeling my ancestors, who suffered miserable Atlantic passages on the Mayflower and in steerage to Ellis Island, and was pretty convinced - as I have been most of my life - that I have drowned at sea in multiple past incarnations; an end I don't care to repeat in this one. But I fortified myself with some crystallized ginger and various anti-seasickness elixirs and amulets, girded my loins, and off we went...

So now that I've set the scene for you, aren't we all just going to be surprised as hell when I tell you I had a fantastic time, totally loved the experience of sailing, and couldn't wait to not only go again but to go FASTER?! With heeling and everything! Granted, it was a lovely calm morning and the sailing was tranquil, but still....

Honestly, this great scene from "What About Bob?" represents my before and after sailing experience almost perfectly...

ROTFL! Yes Bob, you did indeed have a breakthrough. Me too! Good for us! And neither of us even threw up. :-)

BW standing beside Amity after our sail

Our able skipper (who I'm quite certain was not high as a kite), Steve O'Connell...

BW hangs on Steve's every nautical word

To BW's indescribable delight, Steve had him man the tiller as we motored out of the congested part of Belfast Harbor and then sailed around the bay. This resulted in alternating all-business "don't distract me, I'm doing critical sailing stuff" expressions and yet another Happy Vacation Face like this one...

Here are a few more photos I took during our sail...

Belfast Harbor and the Belfast Bridges
(one for wheels, one for feets)

A handsome moored sailboat and waterfront cottages

A beautiful day for a sail on Belfast Bay.

Both before and after our voyage, we puttered about Belfast, which has a lot of fun shops (though many were closed for the holiday). One of the first things we came upon when we arrived was this gathering of folks overlooking the harbor. Their personalities were a little wooden, but we thought they had a lot of character. ;-)

My favorites are the one on the far left (I love the carved rope around his head) and the one on the far right (who looks like either a Mongolian nomad or Confucius to me!)

The scuptor, Ron Cowan, was setting them up for the day outside a funky little shop (that was closed for the 4th) called Roots & Tendrils, so we enjoyed a lovely chat with him. A friendly and talented man! His son Ryan is a talented sculptor too (a chip off the old block, nyuck nyuck!) Check out their wonderful web site, The Garden Muse, to see much more of their whimsical and intriguing art!

We'd been looking forward to our visit to the Belfast Co-op, which was fortunately open till 2 that day. We procured our lunch from their deli and took it to Heritage Park, overlooking the public boat dock and harbor, and enjoyed yet another yummy picnic in a pretty setting...

Our totally organic, locally made vegan lunch consisted of whole grain bread from Tuva Bakery in neighboring Lincolnville, whole wheat soba noodle & cabbage salad for me, yet another curried tofu dish for BW (told you that boy loves his curry!), a shared marinated kale salad, and Maine Root's Ginger Brew, handcrafted in Portland...

The Ginger Brew was (as they say in Maine) wicked gingery!

On our way back to Searsport we stopped at 183-acre Moose Point State Park for a leisurely hike. There's a 1.2 mile gentle loop trail that winds along the coast and through the piney woods. (You may remember from my last post that Searsport's pretty Carver Memorial Library was built in part out of stones collected from the Moose Point shore)...

This picket fence lends a homey touch to part of the trail!

Enjoying a pause beneath the aptly named "Big Spruce,"
located along the equally aptly named "Big Spruce Trail."

Coming up next: a week of vacation for BW and lots of home improvement/prepare for winter projects for us. So blogging and other online activities may be on hold for awhile, but when I can post again we've still got Camden and Rockport to explore, another foray into Belfast and another sailing adventure (this one a longer, livelier "eco-sail"), and a really fun hike in Camden Hills State Park, along with some non-vacation posts. So till then, enjoy these last days of August! (Wow, how'd that happen?!)


  1. Indeed, how is it the end of August?!?

    I really enjoyed this post and can just imagine how awesome sailing must have felt. I've never been on a sailboat but have been on many a pontoon, canoe, kayak and speedboat, all which I love. Sailing would be so much fun!

    The carvings are spectacular and remind me of carvings my dad used to do, but on a much smaller scale. I have several old style Santas that he carved which look a lot like the carvings you encountered. :)

    I hope you both enjoy BW's week off as much as possible and that the work part of it doesn't take up too much of your time!

  2. Molly, you've got me! This month just raced by!

    I'm glad you enjoyed this post! I had a lot of fun putting it together. I just love that "I'm Sailing!" snippet from What About Bill?! :-)

    You've definitely been on more watercraft than I! I'd love to try kayaking, and sea kayaking is big in Maine. The last time I was on a speedboat was on our honeymoon 22 years ago, when I water skied for the first time up in Whitefish, MT. An old friend of my mom's had a ski boat and took us out on Whitefish Lake. BW spent his youth water skiing and is very good, but I'd never been. I did really well though, not falling till the boat had to make a turn! Knowing you're going to land in icy cold water is very motivational and greatly improves your performance! LOL Maybe you guys can go for a sail on Lake Michigan before summer's over - or next year! Bet you'd have a blast!

    I'd love to see your dad's Santa carvings! Wouldn't that be a fun December post? ;-)

    We got lots of outdoor stuff done yesterday. Today is the big furniture moving push. Hopefully today and tomorrow we'll get all the carpet and pad ripped up and hauled off! I'll be glad when that's done!

  3. That scene from What About Bill is very funny. lol

    I hope the carpeting goes well and fast! That kind of stuff is always so exhausting & stressful.

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  5. Reposting my comment...I had to take out some of the instances of the word "lovely"...I got a little crazy with it...I think there are a still plenty of instances of it in the repost though:

    Sailing sounds like fun. So glad your sailing adventure turned out to be a good one! It looks like it was a great day for it too. Belfast harbor looks lovely.

    Your previous sailing adventures sound humorous now...but I'm sure they weren't at the time. I've been on lots of motor boats and ferries...never been sea sick. I can imagine it's a horrible feeling.

    Love the wooden sculptures...very enchanting. If I remember correctly, Aristotle claimed that sculpture was the lowest form of the arts...that may or may not be...but I've always loved sculpture...especially in wood; it's so warm and sensual.

    The rest of your day, hikes and lunch sound perfect.

    It'll be fun to hear about your other sailing outing too. I'm not copying you or anything, but I'll be taking a blog hiatus in September too...just seems like a good time for a break and forays into other projects.

    Talk to you soon,


  6. Molly - I think so too! :-D

    Thanks for your "well & fast" carpet installation wishes. I hope it goes that way too! (THAT would be first!) We're at least getting our part done. Moved all the furniture/stuff on the walls out, tore up and hauled off all the old carpet (except on the stairs), tore up all the old pad (and will haul it off tomorrow), and pulled out about 50,000 staples that were holding the pad down! Need to tear out the carpet, pad and staples on the stairs today and do some other prep work, but so far so good! Sure echoes upstairs now, and the dogs are utterly baffled by it all! :-)

  7. Rose - Ha, I do that too sometimes - use one word repeatedly in a post or comment. I won't notice it when I preview, but the second I publish that word (and any spelling or grammar mistakes) jump right out at me. (Like leaving out the "a" in my above reply to Molly when I meant to type, "THAT would be a first!") Why is that? Sometimes I delete and demand a do-over, too! I did it on this one, when I caught some boo-boos after publishing it! (Can you say, "Perfectionists?") ;-)

    Sailing was very fun and relaxing (sure didn't expect it to be relaxing!) and the day couldn't have been more perfect. Steve and BW wished for more wind, but for my maiden voyage a light breeze was just fine, thank you. And yeah, those past experiences? We can laugh about it now, but at the time - oy. When the Caribe docked in Nova Scotia we got 2 hours to walk around and explore. I staggered about as best I could, pale, green and tottery, and it was all I could do to force myself to re-board. When they announced over the loudspeakers that the cruise back to Portland would take something hideous like 12 hours, I didn't know whether to run screaming from the ship and live as a homeless person in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia or jump overboard and end it all! Of course, I just groaned and sucked it up. (Or, more accurately, puked it up! LOL)

    I thought you'd like those sculptures (and their web site!) What was Aristotle's prob? I've always thought sculpture looked harder to do than any other kind of art! I love wood carvings best too, and then stone ones.

    I wouldn't think you were copying me! I hope you enjoy your blogging sabbatical! I took one of those once - lasted a year and a half! That was excessive, hope yours only lasts one month as planned! :-) I'll miss your fun posts! My break is being imposed on me by circumstances beyond my control, but I plan to do my best to keep up with blogging. Though that good intention may just end up being another road-to-hell paving brick! ;-)

  8. It took me three times to get through this post. I did a lot of side trips into your fun links on this one.
    The catamaran photo was very different than what ours looks like. I'll have to photograph it this weekend and share it with you. In August, four of us sat on it comfortably but of course it wasn't stormy and we weren't drunk!
    Wish us luck on getting some wind Sat and Sun before we have to pull it out for the winter. I totally echo your "how did that happen" sentiment!
    Good luck with your chores and jobs this week and I hope you find time to get to some fun things together too. It's a new month so last month's vacation doesn't count!

  9. Hey Tex-
    I always sensed this....we're related!! My ancestors too traveled here on the Mayflower. No wonder we get on so well.
    I loved seeing these sailing pics. The one of BW at the helm-no one could look happier. I'm glad that the 1st mate didn't have any ill effects, shall we say, of out sailing.
    You are certainly getting lots of mileage out of your vaca-2 months later and you're still enjoying it. How great is that?
    Regarding your last post with multiple placemats and the library've peaked my interest and I'll have to check out Searsport one day.
    Hope there's not too many crazy jobs around the house for you-it's Labor Day weekend-time to rest up.

  10. Hello, TW! Your boating adventure looked like a lot of fun. So glad neither of you upchucked on the Captain ;-)~. Lovely countryside.....may want to go there one of these days. We're planning on going to Cape Cod in a month or so just to see what it's like. Those carvings were fantastic, too. Glad you two had fun ;-).

  11. Adventure Jo - Thanks for sticking with this post till you got all the way through it! I'm glad you enjoyed a few sidetrips exploring my links. The Hobie Cat photo I found looks just like the catamaran I clung to for dear life, as best I recall it these many years later! I'm curious to see a photo of yours, hope you were able to get one! My "hosts" on that adventure weren't drunk, they were stoned - though I'm not sure what, if any, difference it makes. I was stone-cold sober, which I'm sure DID make a difference! ;-)

    I agree that last month's vacation shouldn't count - neither should this month's! It started out so well, and went pear-shaped so quickly, ending with such an awful thud. :-( I want a do-over!

    Sue - Well howdy, there, Pilgrim! ;-) I do recall your mentioning in passing on your blog once your Mayflower DNA, and I wondered if we share any of the same ancestors!

    BW was indeed the happiest of campers on our sail! (His expression was dramatically different during our recent "staycation," unfortunately!) I have definitely gotten a lot of mileage out of our trip, and it's been great fun re-living it as I sort through the photos and write my posts, and everyone's comments have been really delightful to read and reply to! I fear we've got a lot of "stuff" to deal with yet, so it will probably be next week before I can do my next post, but I'm looking forward to it.

    Searsport has a fun "Fling into Fall" annual event coming up next month, it would be great if you could make it to that! I wish we could. And nearby Belfast seems to always have fun stuff going on. Hope you'll make it up that way!

    Spud - LOL, I share your relief and gratitude that neither of us upchucked on the captain - or on anyone or anything else! ;-) I too hope you can get up that way soon. You guys would really enjoy it! I've only been to Cape Cod once, in college with a friend whose family had a little place in Dennisport (I think that was the name of it). It was early spring, so very cold and cloudy and windy, but we had fun. VERY different scenery from Penobscot Bay, however... flat and sandy rather than hilly and rocky. Both lovely in their own way - you must see them both! :-) Enjoy your trip to Cape Cod, I hope to hear all about it and see photos, of course!


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

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There are many of us, on the other hand,
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