Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday's Words for August 19, 2009

The Margaret Todd is a151 foot, four-masted schooner, the main attraction for a company called Down East Windjammer Cruises. Operating out of Bar Harbor, it offers 2 hour excursions, tours of Frenchman’s Bay. Designed by her owner Captain Steven Pagels, the vessel was built in St. Augustine Florida and was launched in 1998.

I first read about the Windjammer cruise company in the Auto Club’s (AAA) guidebook. As soon as I saw the words “four-masted schooner”, I knew this was an experience Mr. Ashbury would particularly enjoy.

My beloved in enamored of all things nautical, especially sailing vessels of a certain vintage—or replicas thereof. Although the Margret Todd wasn’t built in a previous century her design harkens back to an earlier time when men roamed the seas, and women ascended to the top of their New England sea-side homes, paced the “widow’s walk” and kept watch for their man’s return.

We took the afternoon sail on the Tuesday we were in Bar Harbor. Although originally forecast to be raining, the day had turned sunny and warm. The schooner left the dock, and before long the captain gave the order to hoist the sails. Passengers were given the opportunity to assist in this. My beloved declined.

The snap of the wind on canvas is a particularly stirring sound. It speaks to us instinctively of good fortune and fast seas.

How do you explain that sense you sometimes get when, doing something for the first time, a feeling of familiarity descends upon you? I don’t have an answer for that, myself. My beloved has wondered aloud if he lived a previous life as a pirate. We’ve been married long enough that we each tend to allow the other the freedom of belief.

I know I thoroughly enjoyed the sensation of sailing across the bay without the sound of an engine surrounding me. I tried to clutch every moment with both hands, but of course the outing was over far too soon.

At the resort where we stayed in that Maine locale we had a ground-floor efficiency, one unit of about 30 in one building of 8. Outside the door was a brick patio, with lawn chairs for our relaxation, providing a view of the pool and the sea. The part of Frenchman’s Bay that temporarily was our home had no sand beach. Pebbles and rocks formed the shore. Unlike Virginia Beach, no sound of surf filled the air. However, if I listened closely, I could hear the gentle lap of water on rocks.

The air carried the sea, not just the scent of it, but in birdsong, in the plaintive cry of gulls. We stayed three nights in this down-east community. I did have some Maine lobster – from the shell, and one night as an appetizer in “lobster stew”. Very yummy. I also tried mussels for the first time, as the restaurant where we dined Monday night – The Log Cabin – featured a salad bar with steamed mussels. They were delicious.

Better to me than the food, or the sail, or the sights and sounds of a tourist town (one of my favorite things) was the tranquility of being on the bay, by the sea. I experience an identical sense of peace if the water I’m near is a lake. My zodiac sign is Cancer. Water is the element of this sign, and I’ve always been drawn to it.

The two weeks of this vacation have sped by. Fortunately for me, the lure of home is as compelling as the call to exploration, and heading home a prospect as attractive an endeavor as setting out, fourteen days ago, had been.

Dare to try a little Reckless Abandon

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