Friday, February 23, 2007

Schooner trip (click photos to enlarge)

I scanned these photos from my 'working passenger' vacation in Maine on the oldest working schooner in the U.S. in 1986. Someone went out in the dinghy with all of our cameras and got this shot of the whole boat. I took the wheel of this huge boat several times and even tacked her one (bringing the boat about, nose through the wind to go 90 degrees in the other direction)!

I'm including a shot of me with the Captain. He had a hired crew of two to have experienced help along with us novices. Even though many of us were sailors, we hadn't sailed anything of this magnitude before. When I tacked, I had to hang my full weight on the wheel, the boat was so heavy! At night, the captain and crew would pull out their guitars and banjos, then sing sea chanties. It was beautiful sitting out on that (albeit chilly deck) under the stars hearing this.

You'll see one shot of the 'crew' lowering the sails as we anchored for the night. This took a lot of coordination to get the sails folded down and tied just right. The boat had no engine, so we sailed off of our anchorages each night. For the times power was needed, the boat had a second dinghy with an engine. It was strapped behind the schooner and pushed it. That was necessary to re-enter the busy Camden harbor.

This was a strange vacation. We'd gotten the reservations for the first week in Sept months earlier. I love sailing in Maine and to be crew and not do it 'luxury' style was the way to do it (We actually slept in the old crew cabins in bunk beds and there were two heads on deck, no showers. Each morning every couple got a pan of hot water from the galley to wash face and armpits with). About 10 days before going, I got word that my father had collapsed , been taken to the hospital where the diagnosis was cancer. It was still 'summer' in the Carolinas and chilly at nights in Maine, to the point of winter clothes some nights and days. I didn't know what to expect, so I packed a duffle bag for Maine and left it with Steve and a suitcase, then got a plane out the next day for home. Mother and I stayed in the hospital with him for that week and it was terminal, but not immediately, so the doctors told me to go on the trip. The price was nonrefundable and his sister and her husband had come by then to stay several weeks with my parents in hospital, then at home.

I arranged a flight to come in right before Steve's to Boston where we would then take a commuter plane on up to Camden. I didn't know it, but they changed Steve's flight to an hour earlier, but didn't tell him, so he missed it. By then I was already in flight and he couldn't contact me, so he called and arranged seats for us both on the communter plane to Maine, last flight out , instead of the one we were on and left a message telling me he'd be late. Well, I got to Boston, of course, not to find him.

The people at the commuter flight section didn't give me any message and said I should go ahead and take the flight I was scheduled on. There I was with light summer nonboating clothes in my suitcase and no husband. When I got to Maine I discovered the taxi ride was around 45 minutes, so the cab took groups of people in at each flight. I didn't know what to do.

My suitcase didn't arrive, either, so finally I told those people to tell my husband I'd gone in the cab and to bring my suitcase if it came. By the time I got to the boat it was late afternoon and chilly. The captain's wife found me a jacket and somebody else loaned me warm socks. The captain told me when people missed their flight, fishing boats were in radio contact and usually ferried them out to him. Still, no clothes, not even a toothbrush. Finally , after dark, here comes Steve with duffle bags and suitcase. The captain let us stow the suitcase at their house after I got my toiletries out of it and the evening began. I called the hospital anytime we stopped at an inhabited anchorage. It was an emotionally charged trip, knowing my father was dying.

I was to go back to Pageland two more two week trips before the Christmas trip, when he died.


mouse said...

Pris, that certainly was a trip! Every emotion under the sun bound into one of life's round-a-bouts.

I agree that it is better to actually work on a sailing ship than to be just a passenger. As a passenger all I wanted to do was sleep and eat. Peaceful for sure, but not a productive feeling like when you make the vessel go where you want it to.

It was also somewhat lucky that Steve got the message regarding you and your lack of luggage. What a stressful time that must have been! Good that you did get to visit with dear ole' Dad a couple more times though. Good for both of you.

Happy belated anniversity! Did you two purposefully pick the time to be around Valentine's Day? My husband and I got hitched on the 12th, although I tried to talk him into waiting until the 29th. It was leap year and I told him that way he'd only have to remember it every 4th year:) Sadie Hawkins day really brings out my Scottish ancestry!

Pris said...

We chose it because it was Friday the 13th, which he claimed was his lucky day:-)

You're Scottish, too? My ancestry is Scot/Irish. My last name is Campbell.

As far as eating goes, they did have a hired cook, though we all assisted in the cooking and did the cleanup. The food was better than at a gourmet restaurant. Even with all the work, I STILL gained weight!!

Pat Paulk said...

Some friends and I are looking at doing something similiar out of the Bahamas. Beautiful and sad.

Pris said...

Hi Pat,
Before cFIDS, I was on my own 26 foot sailboat in the Bahamas since it's so close to us. West End is around 90 miles, but in a saleboat, that's a good 12 hours, depending on the weather. Depending on when you go , heat, not cold, will be what you deal with there. Be sure if you do this, that the trip isn't to the big commercial ports like Nassau, etc, which are nothing like the more deserted Cays. Those are a world apart, wondrous places. Green Turtle is the only more commercial one that's well worth going to. The cruise ships can't get in there, but they've found that if they come on calm days, they can sit out beyond the reefs and motor people in, so that Cay may be spoiled by now. The deserted ones with a strip of concrete as a 'road' and a phone that fires up by generator once a day for a few hours...the unpopulated ones. Oh, you'll love it!

Pat Paulk said...

Thanks!! That's the purpose to see some none of us have ever been to on cruises.