Windjamming Aboard the Grace Bailey
In Early September by Carole Adams
Sunday: It was Labor Day weekend in Camden and this means Windjammer Weekend. It was a fun look at a small town celebration. We had a cocktail while watching the boat parade, then boarded the Grace Bailey for the schedule orientation. Our first look at our fellow passengers indicated it was going to be an interesting mix of people and so it proved to be. We were told how to use the marine heads, how to get water for washing up, where the scuttlebutt was, and a few other details necessary to life on ship. Then we dispersed for our last meal on land. We choose to eat at the Village Restaurant, one that the Captain recommended, and he did not steer us wrong. After dinner we listened to Down East style music being played in the park overlooking the harbor. It had been a lovely, festive day. It was starting to sprinkle and it was getting late so we made our way back to the Grace Bailey to settle in for the first night on board.
|Ben teachers the novice crew how to hoist the sheets - HEAVE! (Image courtesy of Carole Adams)|
Monday: It was a gray morning, having rained overnight, but the spirits of the participants were not dampened. A bountiful breakfast, a few last minutes purchases in town, and we were off. Well, sort of. The Grace Bailey does not have an engine so their small motorized yawl boat pushed us out into Penobscot Bay. Then the fun began. Passengers were invited to join in hoisting the sails, hauling up the small boat, pumping water, pumping the bilge, and trimming the sails. It was exhilarating! We soon discovered every meal aboard ship was going to be fantastic. They fed us about every three hours. Cooking was done on a wood burning stove and everything was delicious. Homemade bread, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh fish! The first night out we docked in Castine. After a delicious baked haddock dinner we walked around this peaceful and beautiful community, with its stately elm trees.
|In pursuit of another windjammer! (Image courtesy of Carole Adams)|
Tuesday: A gorgeous morning. Even though the Grace Bailey has a shower, I bought a shower at the charming old Castine Inn, boy did that feel good. We had a great day of sailing, down the Eggemoggin Reach and around Deer Isle, pulling in to a beautiful little cove off Vinalhaven Island for the traditional lobster bake. What fun! We were transported to shore in the yawl boat. I was carried to land on the back of Matt, one of the crew so my feet wouldn't get wet, poor thing! A great time was had by all as we explored the little cove and enjoyed a delicious meal. All too soon we had to re-board the ship. We had to make it to North Haven that night because the 3-day passengers were disembarking the next morning and taking the ferry back to the mainland. It was beautiful sailing in the twilight and into the night. By the time we dropped anchor the sky was filled with stars and the lights of the little community twinkled cheerily a short distance away. We had covered a tremendous distance that day, at least the Captain was impressed!
|What a gorgeous Island for a lobster bake! (Image courtesy of Carole Adams)|
Wednesday: Day three of sailing was gorgeous. The wind did not come up as predicted so the Captain altered our plans and we sailed around Vinalhaven, past Matinicus Island, and by Isle au Haut to Stonington, which was still a good sail for the day. Lunch that day was "wicked good", spinach lasagna. At the end of the day we anchored offshore picturesque Stonington.
|Getting ready to anchor and go ashore. (Image courtesy of Carole Adams)|
Thursday: After breakfast we were taken ashore in the yawl boat and given about an hour to explore. We found a terrific little bookstore. Stonington is a quaint, uncommercialized town. One of our fellow passengers said it had once been something of an art colony. Day four of sailing was magnificent. We made our way across Penobscot Bay in the afternoon, anchoring off Rockland before it got dark. Our last night on the Grace Bailey was memorable. After a delicious barbecue prepared by J.R., we got ready for talent night. But first a group of us, Diane, Sally, and myself, serenaded the crew with a song we had written for them that afternoon. We billed ourselves as the non-shanty singers, but we should have left off the shanty part. We were terrible, but it was all in fun. Our song was called The Dishwashing Machine, in honor of the procedure for washing dishes. Volunteers and crew members would line up after each meal and wash the dishes in containers of water. Which side of the deck the machine was on depended on the wind, after all, it would not do to have items blown overboard.
|Sunrise of the last day! A gorgeous close to a beautiful trip. (Image courtesy of Carole Adams)|
Friday: The sunrise of our last morning aboard the Grace Bailey was incredibly beautiful, a truly fitting close to this most wonderful experience. We were due in Camden by 10:00 am so the yawl boat was used to help speed us along. Camden was a gorgeous sight. The time had flown by. The crew was fantastic, the passengers a delight, the food something to marvel over, and the sailing was magnificent. It had been a real high, I was sorry to see it end. We said farewell to all our shipboard friends and pushed off.
|J.R. and Matt make final preparations for our arrival back at Camden. (Image courtesy of Carole Adams)|
On the way home I read a little book I bought in Stonington, A Seal Called Andre . The last paragraph of page one pretty much sums up the beauty of this trip: "I have lived all my life near the sea. I cannot imagine myself living anywhere else. Inland people live in the midst of change they can do nothing about. The sea you can count on; it will always be there. Petty problems may be thorning you ashore, but once you head out into the bay, you are able to shuck everything off. The sea is a sanctuary."
|Below is the song by Carole, Diane and Sally: "The Dishwashing Machine". (Image courtesy of Carole Adams)|
The dishwashing machine,
The dishwashing machine,
We get the dishes squeaky clean.
The pots and pans, we scrub like new,
So Fritz can fill them up anew.
The dishes, mugs, and serving bowls
Are rinsed and dried by willing souls.
The dirty water from the kitchen sink
Is thrown into the briny drink.
Captain Steve speeds us along
With his hearty crew and sing-alongs.
The Grace Bailey has carried us well
And kept us happy for a spell.
All the guests are grateful to
Allysa, Ben, Matt and J.R. too,
We've signed up for another week or two!
Back to the Newsletter