Friday, July 28, 2006

Sailing in a Northeast Paradise, Day 2

Day 2, Sailing to Isle au Haut, and the Wedding

Our internal alarms, and the sounds from the galley and up on deck, woke us around 7AM. There was coffee up on deck, and the passengers drifted up from their cabins to greet each other and the beautiful morning.

At 8AM, the first mate called out "On Deck: Attention to Colors!" and we silently watched the ship's flags go up -- first the U.S. flag, then a flag that says "No guts no glory" and finally the Maine state flag and an Irish flag to acknowledge our trip theme of Irish music. With flags up, the bell was rung to announce breakfast and we made our way down to the galley.

I could write an entire journal just describing the food, but I'll leave it at this: over the course of our trip we were offered eggs, french toast, pancakes, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, ham, coffee cake, sticky buns, soups, salads, turkey, chicken, kielbasa, lobster, beef, all sorts of vegetables, desserts to die for, and more things that I just can't remember now. I'm not sure why we even bothered to bring snacks on board -- with Pam cooking, hunger is never ever an issue. So, breakfast was wonderful.

The Captain and Pam gave their first morning speeches, explaining the history of the boat, some of the rules, and what to expect. The most important question -- where are we going -- was answered as always: "we're going to Rockland... we're going to leave Rockland, sail, make a few stops somewhere along the way, and come back to Rockland."

After breakfast we had an hour to go ashore for any last-minute errands. Once again we made our way to Rite Aid (they must make a killing off Victory Chimes passengers!) and picked up the last forgotten items: toothbrush to replace the one I dropped in the trash, chapstick, hand lotion.... I also checked out the great bookstore in town, but they didn't have the specific book I needed that day. Did some window shopping on the way back, as it was too early for most shops to open.

At 10AM, back on board, we got the safety speech, then the gangway was removed and we got under way. The dock we left had a big sign: "Journey's End Marina" and I knew that would mean more when we came back in a few days.

We were pushed out past the Rockland lighthouse, which is as picturesque as any, and then we raised the sails and set out on an easterly course. The swells were big that morning, which made us really feel the water beneath us. We sailed for about 5 hours, passing Vinalhaven and Stonington and anchoring at Isle au Haut near Merchant's Row. (See my black squiggle on map to show approximate sailing route.)

We didn't go ashore the first day, as we were busy getting gussied up for the wedding. After dinner, the Irish musicians tuned up and started playing, while the wedding couple, JJ and John, got ready for ceremony.

The wedding:

John looked a little nervous while he sat on deck waiting for JJ.

The Captain, who had changed into his wedding-officiating clothes, regaled us with a story about a past wedding where the ring had somehow gone overboard and a crew member had gone in to fish it out. Was it the ring, or was it the Captain's notes for the ceremony? Different passengers heard that one differently, but the groom took it in stride nonetheless.

Pam walked JJ down the aisle while we all snapped photos as quickly as possible. It was a short aisle, and they walked at a good clip, so I only snuck in the one quick shot.

The wedding was quick and very sweet, with a waltz and bubbles (all the passengers were given bubbles in lieu of confetti) and champagne and a beautiful wedding cake. The bride wore much-admired rhinestone-adorned sandals. After the wedding, one of our SAC group gave the couple a card signed by all the passengers.

We listened to Irish music and learned an Irish dance similar to the Virginia Reel. We drank and talked and admired the evening. We watched the sun go down, which is impossible to properly describe, so I include a photo to give an idea of how perfect the evening was.

The night was filled with about 3 million stars, though I'll admit I lost count somewhere around 257.... We saw shooting stars as well. We finished off the night with a couple games of Scrabble below deck, and one last look at the stars before bed.

I wrote a wedding poem for JJ and John and included it in the card. I'll post it here for them to see again:


I watched two boats
sail their separate courses,
and thought how sad
that these two beautiful things --
so similar
and following parallel paths --
should nonetheless be disjoined
by all that sea between them.

Like clouds overhead,
blown across the same space by the same wind,
but separated by a slice of sky.

But then sometimes the wind
will catch one cloud a little more than the other,
and blow the two together,
and sometimes,
when you watch the sailboats in the distance,
you'll see their paths cross,
their bows kiss,
their sails intermingle.

And you realize that
neither sea,
nor sky,
nor any space between,
can keep two --
who are meant to be one --
from joining.

(This poem is protected by copyright. Please do not use without permission.)

Congratulations JJ and John and best of best wishes to you both!


Douglas Twitchell said...

I really like that poem. "separated by a slice of sky" very nice.

Now it's time for me to pack up and and get ready to head for Penobscot Bay! (Although I'll be further up the Bay, near Belfast)

Robin said...

Enjoying your travelogue very much!