Thursday, March 26, 2009

My 15 Minutes Of Fame!

Okay, if you've read the blog or talked to me lately, you've probably heard something about voting for Rockland as America's Coolest Small Town. It all started back in January when Budget Travel put the word out that they were looking for nominations for towns for them to consider. Well, I spent a few hours in front of the computer and sent off my nomination. Brian and I were in Florida a few weeks later when we received a phone call from a local paper asking for an interview...and that was the first we had heard that Rockland had been chosen to be in the top 22 towns being put to public vote. Since then we've been on Facebook, Twitter, and many different blogs. We've been in a bunch of papers. We were interviewed for TV! And today we were interviewed on a local radio station. Who knew that those few hours on a cold winter day would turn into something so cool for us....and for Rockland?!?!

There have been almost 70,000 votes on the Budget Travel web site. Rockland enjoyed a brief visit to first place but we're settling comfortably into second place behind Owego, NY. My understanding is that Budget Travel will be publishing the top ten coolest towns in America article in the October issue and we've got our fingers crossed that Rockland will be included.

Listen to the (brief but cool!) interview from today with Jon James of 92 Moose:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A new season, a new flag!

Every year we get a new pennant for the Evans. It's about 18' long with a red background, blue border, and white letters. The flags are created locally by a skilled craftsman; Robert Nedderman. The pennant undergoes serious amounts of wear each season even though we take it down each night. One year, by the last day of the season, the flag read, "Isaac H. Eva"! The new flag is just one small step closer to our sailing season.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Our Newest Crew Member!

Hi! My name is Izze and I'm the newest crew member working for Maine Boating Adventures. I don't know much about boats, actually, I'm only five months old and still learning a lot of things, but I'm anxious to learn and eager to please.

I was born with 10 brothers and sisters and three of us ended up at a place where people go to meet cats and dogs to see if they are the right family match. Brenda and Brian came last Thursday and took me for a walk. I was pretty sure they liked me and I was so happy when they came back two days later and we went for a ride in their truck. They pet me a lot and gave me some yummy chewy treats. Brenda had even made me a beautiful leash out of rope from the boat. I hadn't seen any of the other dogs leave with a leash like this one so I thought it was pretty special.

I have settled into my new house with Brenda and Brian. They don't like me to get on the furniture but I have a hard time not wanting to get up so I can give kisses. I wasn't sure about stairs at first but now I can visit them upstairs in the bedroom, downstairs in the office, or even down another set of stairs to the basement. I love exploring and they always love to see me coming and pet me a lot when I get there.

I'm not really sure about their friends yet. I bark at most of them because I don't want them to stay so I don't have to share my treats with them like at the place I used to live. I want Brenda and Brian's attention all to myself. Sometimes one or the other of them goes away from the house for a little while but they always come back! I love when they come back because they are happy to see me.

We went to a park on Sunday where I met lots of other dogs that had their own people. Some were bigger than me and some were smaller. I'm really shy at first but I think I will love running in the field at the park with all of my new friends when I am a little more comfortable.

I haven't been on the boats yet but I have been to the shipyard. It's raining today so I'm going to help in the office but when it is dry and sunny I can help at the shipyard again. There's so much to do all the time but I'm glad that Brian and Brenda take the time to pet me and take me for walks. They like to play too and tell me all the time that I am a good boy. They told me that I will meet lots of great people this summer and I can't wait!

I weigh about 45 to 50 pounds already and I think I'm a lap dog. I have big ears and big paws to grow into still. One of Brenda and Brian's friends asked if I am part moose! We aren't exactly sure but my mom and dad probably had some shepherd, walker hound, and Bernese Mountain Dog in them. I fit the Wikipedia description of a Bernese Mountain Dog's temperament...especially this part: "Bernese Mountain Dogs are quirky, loving dogs, craving love and affection. They love to lean against people, sit on their feet, or lie down under their legs while people sit." I do that to Brenda and Brian all the time!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

“Best Value” Award Goes to Maine Windjammer Association

The Maine Windjammer Association recently won first place in the “Best Value Accommodation in New England” category in a survey conducted by the New England Travel Writers Network.

While windjammer guests tell us all the time that our cruises represent an incredible value, it was nice to be recognized by an outside group. Survey participants included active writers in the Society of American Travel Writers Northeast Chapter. These well-traveled professionals were invited to nominate properties in three categories, including best value, green, and luxury accommodations in New England. Results were announced at the Boston Globe Travel Show last month, where the winners were on hand to make presentations to travel professionals about their properties.

You can sail an authentic 19th-century tall ship, dine on lobster and delicious home-cooked meals, explore pristine islands and working fishing villages, and enjoy live music and story-telling under the stars or simply relax with a book or game of Scrabble by the wood stove...all for the typical nightly cost of a hotel room.

Evans ball cap: $18.00

Evans fleece vest: $35.00

Evans "Romance Gift": $49.99 plus tax.
(includes a bottle of Maine's own Cellardoor Winery wine, two wine glasses, a box of Maine-made chocolates, and a special note from you, all placed in your cabin prior to your arrival.)

Evans per-person per-night costs: $158 to $200

Life-long memories you create on an Evans adventure: priceless

Now that's value!

Friday, March 13, 2009

These Ladies Rock!

I made my boat name it's your turn.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

North America's 1st female ship captain dies at 93

(as reported in the New York Times)

A native of the Canadian province of New Brunswick, Ms. Kool was known familiarly throughout her life as Captain Molly. She qualified as a captain at age 23, and she spent the next five years in command of the Jean K, her father’s 70-foot engine- and sail-driven scow. In 2006, she was officially recognized by the Canadian government as the first woman to hold captain’s papers.

Hauling cargo up and down the Bay of Fundy and as far afield as Boston, Ms. Kool faced rain and fog, fire and ice, and the violent tides for which the bay is known. She also earned the disbelief, disdain and, eventually, respect of her rough-hewn male colleagues.

Her work made her a curiosity. Ms. Kool appeared on the radio on “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” and was profiled often in the Canadian press. One news account from the period described her this way: “Her eyebrows are shaped and arched, her lips lightly rouged, her blonde hair up in feminine curls. That’s Miss Molly Kool ashore ... but in her barge ... she knows no fear ... and she’ll give orders if she marries, and hubby holds only a mate’s ticket.”

Ms. Kool was sometimes called New Brunswick’s first feminist, but in 1939, when she got her captain’s papers, she scarcely thought about making history. She simply wanted to be on the water.

The sea was in Ms. Kool’s blood. Her father, Paul Kool, was a Dutch sailor who settled in New Brunswick, where he captained the Jean K, named for his eldest daughter. The second of five children, Molly spent much of her childhood aboard the scow, which took cargo from ships anchored in deep water to ports along the bay.

Hoping to become her father’s first mate, Ms. Kool applied to the Merchant Marine School in St. John, New Brunswick. She was turned down but persevered, earning a mate’s certificate there in 1937. Two years later, at the Merchant Marine Institute in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, she earned a coastal master’s certificate, entitling her to work as a captain in coastal waters. Her father handed over the Jean K, which she captained for the next five years.

Ms. Kool was nothing if not pragmatic. On one widely reported occasion, the Jean K collided with another ship in a dense fog and sent her hurtling overboard, where she risked being sucked under by the ship’s propeller. A piece of timber floated by and she grabbed it, as the ship’s passengers hurled life preservers down at her.

“I’m already floating,” Ms. Kool hollered up at them. “Stop throwing useless stuff at me and send a boat!”

In 1944, a gas explosion and fire destroyed much of the Jean K. Ms. Kool planned to return to the water once it was rebuilt, but that year she married Ray Blaisdell, moved with him to Maine and found she enjoyed living on land. She worked for many years selling Singer sewing machines.

Though Ms. Kool received many tributes over the years, perhaps the best summation of what she achieved came in her own words. In 1939, after she passed the three long written tests and the arduous harbor exam needed to get her master’s certificate, she wired her family back in Alma.“You can call me captain from now on,” the telegram said.

(as reported in the Seattle Times)

Molly K. Carney, who as Molly Kool was the first woman in North America to become a licensed ship captain, has died at her home at the age of 93.

Known in Canada by her maiden name, Molly Kool won her captain's papers in 1939 and sailed the Atlantic Ocean between Alma, New Brunswick, and Boston for five years, her friend Ken Kelly said.

Kool grew up in the village of Alma, where she learned a love of the sea and sailing from her father, a Dutch ship captain. At 23, she made history by earning the title of captain, after the Canadian Shipping Act was rewritten to say "he/she" instead of just "he," Kelly said.

She overcame superstitions about women working at sea and won the respect of her male counterparts as she sailed her father's 70-foot boat in the dangerous waters of the Bay of Fundy, said Mary Majka, who joined Kelly in a fundraising effort to pay to move her ancestral home from Alma to a knoll in nearby Fundy National Park overlooking the bay this spring.

"She was good enough that she won the respect of the old salts," Majka said.

Kool left New Brunswick after marrying Ray Blaisdell, of Bucksport, Maine, in 1944. They were together for 20 years before he died. In the 1960s, she married businessman John Carney, who bought her a boat, which he dubbed the Molly Kool.

In her final years, she lived in an independent retirement community in Bangor, where there was a lighthouse and a captain's wheel in the hallway outside her room and where residents called her Captain Molly, Kelly said. She died there Feb. 25.

Kool also was well known in the U.S., where she appeared on an episode of "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" and was flown to New York for the show.

She is survived by a sister, one of four siblings. A memorial service is planned next month in Bangor, and this summer her ashes will be returned to New Brunswick, where her wish of being returned to the sea will be honored.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Spring is on the way...and so is the crew!

This time of year we’re anxious for longer days, warmer temperatures, and the arrival of the crew. It’s never easy to admit that I have a hard time with something, but I have a hard time hiring crew. It’s one of the most important decisions for the business and, thankfully, I’ve been pretty lucky over the last ten years to have had some outstanding people apply to join the Evans.

Working aboard a windjammer is a lot of work, with little pay, but many crew members claim it’s one of the most fun jobs they’ve ever had. We look for strength, versatility, agility, ability to work aloft, leadership skills and an outgoing personality, as those qualities often end up being more important than years of sailing experience. The ability to play a musical instrument, sing, or other special talent, is always an added plus as our trips are about more than just sailing.

The Evans had the first-ever (and still the only!) truly all-female crew in 2004. All the other boats (in the Maine windjammer fleet) are captained by men so there have been some crews that came close but didn’t quite make it. Regardless of gender, every crew member works hard; from making sure the heads are spotless, to teaching how to make Turks’ head bracelets, to serving up one fantastic meal after another, to quiet conversation at the end of the day, or exchanging morning greetings over a mug of hot coffee, our crew make our guests feel right at home.

It's not too late to sign on with the Evans this season...we'll be filling the last two positions over the next two weeks. And it’s certainly not too late to sign up for a trip and meet some of these truly unique crew members.