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

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Vacation: Heron Eco-Sail!

Vacation Day #10 (Part 2)

Our second visit to Rockport and Camden revolved around two more planned sailing adventures, an afternoon "eco-sail" aboard the 65' wooden schooner Heron out of Rockport, and an evening "BYO wine and cheese" sail (for which we'd procured organic sparkling apple cider and a tub of Dr. Kracker Seeded Spelt crackers) aboard the schooner Olad out of Camden. As I mentioned in passing in my previous post, our evening sail was cancelled due to a huge fog bank engulfing the harbor, resulting in a) no views to be had and b) dangerous sailing conditions. Bummer!

But that was not the case in the afternoon, and we set sail aboard Heron under blue and sunny skies! It's a livelier sail in the afternoons than what we experienced on our morning sail in Belfast on July 4th, but now that I'd gotten my feet wet (so to speak), I was game for livelier sailing! And it was a blast!

Heron, a wooden boat, was built and is owned and sailed by Nigel "Twig" and his wife Bonnie. They live aboard Heron nine months of the year, homeschooling their two daughters, spending summers in Penobscot Bay and winters in the Caribbean. As lifestyles go, I can think of worse!


Peering along Heron's bowsprit while she'd still docked in Rockport. Twig told us that church-like building on the hill was a church once, but is now a private home...

On display: another Vacation Happy Face from BW and some very relaxed seamanship from Captain Twig...

Because we sat near the helm for most of the cruise, we got to visit with Twig quite a bit. We really enjoyed him - he's British, with a dry, self-deprecating sense of humor, and he imparted a lot of interesting information and some funny stories.

Remember way back in my farewell-to-Bar Harbor post I mentioned a headstone with the name Sparrow Nickerson and how that made me think of Captain Jack Sparrow, and how Jack Sparrow came up later in our trip and I'd tell you about it if I remembered to by then? Well, lo - even after this much time I've remembered to tell you my silly and pretty insignificant Jack Sparrow anecdote! :-)

Heron was featured in the film "The Rum Diary," starring Johnny Depp (who played Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, of course). After sharing some behind-the-scenes anecdotes, Twig pointed to where Johnny Depp sat on Heron during filming. Since it was mere inches from where I was sitting, you can bet your booty I went to the trouble to scoot over and park my fanny where JD had parked his. (Okay, it's not exactly the most elegant brush with fame I've ever had, but we're talking Johnny Depp here, which always earns bonus points!)

Part of the afternoon sail includes cruising around the very picturesque Indian Island Lighthouse...

Indian Island, so named because of the local Native Americans who took refuge there during the French & Indian War, was sold by one Silas Piper in 1849 for $25 to the US government. Congress appropriated $3,500 for the construction of a lighthouse there, which was completed in 1850. The first lighthouse was a simple affair, consisting of no more than a lantern mounted on the roof of the keeper's house! (Surely the $3,500 paid for the house from which the lantern hung, and not just the lantern - or was our nation experiencing Pentagon Toilet Seat-type pricing as early as 1850?) Upgraded in 1856, the lighthouse was discontinued three years later, only to be reactivated in 1875 when the current light tower you see there today was constructed for $9,000.

The lighthouse was discontinued in 1934 and has been privately owned ever since. When the woman who lives there now was a little girl, her family planted all the trees you see behind the lighthouse, keeper's house and outbuildings.

Moral of this story - get yourself a time machine so you can travel back to a time when you could buy an island for $25, and plant trees now so someday they'll be big and beautiful and your descendants (and anyone traveling by) will enjoy them!

I wonder what it's like to live in an old lighthouse, especially when a bad storm blows in. Is it cozy beyond imagining, or wet-your-pants scary? I'd love to spend a night in one (it's on my list, along with a haunted castle and a yurt!)

This doesn't look like a bad place to spend a night either. So I'm patiently waiting for an invitation...

Pity I couldn't capture and play back the sound of the bell on this channel marker along with the photo. Along with the creaking rigging, snapping sail and slapping waves against the boat's hull, it was all just so utterly, charmingly nautical! :-)

Another bunch of folks out enjoying a beautiful day for sailing...

This was the highlight of the Heron sailing adventure for me ~~ getting a chance to see all these basking Harbor Seals...

Rockport was the birthplace and summer home of Andre the seal (who migrated for the winter to Connecticut, and in later years spent winters at the Boston Aquarium). He was born the year before I was, and I remember him from when we lived in Kennebunk, ME... he was quite the "local" rock star! I wonder if any of these handsome seal-people are his relations?

Those rocks don't look too comfy to me, but I suppose when your blubbery body is shaped like a puffy pillow, they're plenty cushy for laying on! These guys sure make it look like a great place for a sunbath and siesta...

Coming up next: Our final days in Maine and dinner in Fort Collins, CO...


  1. Viewing Maine from the water is a wonderful opportunity and I'm glad you were able to. It's a totally different perspective.
    Parking yo' fanny with JD...aren't you summin'? I'll have to check out that film and put it on my netflix list.
    And yes...Andre was a bit of an animal rock star, wasn't he? I remember visiting him one summer when I was 10 or 11.
    Thanks for sharing all your wonderful "from the water" pics. That new camera is serving you well.

  2. I'm a bit of a land lubber, so not sure if I'd want to live on a boat all the time, but Nigel and Bonnie's lifestyle does sound kind of wonderful! I bet they could even grow a killer garden somewhere on top of the boat as well...if they wanted to.

    LOL about your brush with Johnny Depp! What a're probably destined to meet in person someday, which I"m sure will make Jeff Goldbloom (blaum?) very jealous.:D

    I'd love to weather a storm in a light house too! Sounds cozy to me, but as you say, it might be kinda scary too.

    I love the Harbor Seals! What a treat to catch a glimpse of them. I think that would have been my favorite part too.

    It looks like a truly beautiful afternoon on the water.

  3. Oh my goodness, Laurie, the seals! I would have wanted to stop right there and just watch them for the rest of the day. <3

    How lucky that Twig and his family spend their lives like that! I can just imagine the fun they have.

    I love lighthouses like that. The ones we have on Lake Michigan are so blah compared to them. It would be interesting to spend a night in one during a storm. I've been on the beach of Lake Michigan during a big storm and that was something else, so I can just imagine how it would be on the seashore!

  4. Sue ~ You are so right, the view from the on-the-water perspective is truly different, and I'm glad we got the opportunity to enjoy it! The new camera is indeed serving me well!

    Ha, yes, my fanny and JD's actually have something (or at least somewhere in common! ;-)

    I never got to "meet" Andre, but it seems that Mom and Ging went to see him one day while I wasn't around. I was either in school that day, or away at college or something. How dare they not take me along! I neglected to photograph (or even to see, not realizing it was there until I was back home) the statue of Andre in Rockport. Beats me how I missed it! Guess it was overshadowed by the lime kilns and Heron!

    Rose ~ Landlubber here, too. It's funny, the thought of living aboard a boat full time (or nearly so) fills me with opposite feelings ~ claustrophobia and freedom! I'd miss having a garden (a REAL garden) or yard, a house, and room to roam. On the other hand, the thought of just pulling anchor and cruising on is really appealing! And it would be such a basic life. We have a set of videos by and about a Canadian couple, the Shards, who live aboard the sailboat they built. They travel the world, and sometimes they make it sound so appealing and sometimes they make it sound like a pain in the butt! I imagine it's both - rather like living on land, only different.

    Yes, I'm sure meeting JD would stir up quite the rivalry between he and Jeff Goldblum. ROTFL!

    I completely agree about spending a stormy night in a lighthouse. I think knowing that it has withstood many a storm for a century would ease my fears, though. I'd love to experience it once!

    I have no doubt that seeing the Harbor Seals would have been the highlight of the cruise for you, too!

  5. Molly ~ I'm with you, I wish we could have stopped and watched them much longer! Truth to tell, I wish I could have gotten off the boat while everyone else finished the cruise. They could have picked me up on their way back, and I could have enjoyed all that time basking with the seals! They could teach us all a thing or two about lolling... they're expert lollers. ;-)

    Twig said they just love being down in the Caribbean.. much better weather for sailing and lots more to do (because of the warmer weather and warmer water). They have a deal with the hotels on the beach... they get a stipend and some hotel and restaurant percs, and in return they take guests out for sailing and snorkeling. Pretty neat deal! I envy those girls, that must be some life!

    I know Michigan is also famous for its lighthouses, but I've never seen any in person. New England has some really modest ones and some really neat ones. I love the look of Indian Island Light too! I guess Canada has some pretty spiffy ones as well.

    Bet a storm on Lake Michigan is quite something! A storm on Lake Superior would be something too. It would have me humming "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" and spooking myself! The ocean has always intimidated me, even on its calm days. It's just so vast and powerful!

  6. Spent so much time reading, it left no time for comments but wanted you to know that I enjoyed your sailing photos very much, especially the lighthouse - I love them too and it reminded me of my light house visit this summer.

    Also enjoyed your comment back to me on 101 awards!

  7. Jo ~ Thanks for squeezing in your comment, Jo! I'd forgotten about your visit to a west coast lighthouse! I think this one is beautiful in its simplicity and quite striking against that blue water and those green trees. I'm glad you enjoyed those photos in particular as well, and the whole sailing "thang" too. :-)

    And I appreciate your mentioning seeing my reply to your Happy 101 comment! Hey, do you think if you explained that you really need more time to read AND comment on blog posts during your lunch break, the powers that be would give you a longer one?! LOL I'm glad that when possible you make room in your day to visit and your comments are always fun to read! Thanks!


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

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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