Monday, June 15, 2009

Second Trip of the Season

The weather has been a challenge so I included this picture so we know that we did have some sun! John and 7-year-old Claire are enjoying the warmth and playing cards on deck. Much of the game playing later in the trip was done below!

We rafted up with 4 other schooners Monday night for the Cookbook Gam. Every guest (even Claire!) got a free copy of the new Windjammer Cooking cookbook and they were able to go aboard the other boats and get the captains and cooks to sign them. Of course, I was so busy eating dinner and signing books myself that I didn't get any pictures!

We broke up the gam around 9:00 pm because of a forecasted wind shift and we moved from Carver's Cove over to Kent Cove in anticipation of the easterly coming in. The forecast was for rain and fog but we actually saw some stars that night (and some got to see a beautiful almost-full moon before going to bed).

Our next morning wasn't as damp as the forecast had indicated so we squeezed in a lunch-time lobster bake. We did get a few showers but all-in-all it wasn't bad. I had offered to take people back to the schooner if they wanted to eat there under the tarp but everyone was perfectly happy to stay on Calderwood Island. Claire and John scoured the island for a scavenger hunt list of treasures and then there was a rock skipping competition. John won with a skipper that made so many skips it was impossible to count. Linda found sea urchins and learned what they are.

I made a special treat of roasted veggies...tomatoes, onions, zucchini, summer squash, and mushrooms...that everyone seemed to like. I'm loving our new fire pans as we use about half the amount of wood we have used in the past. We had several lobsters left over and John and I had a picking contest (which I won by a knuckle). We brought back a saucepan FULL of lobster meat!

That afternoon, we motored to the village of North Haven for shore trips and everyone went ashore...for about five minutes. Unfortunately North Haven hasn't quite rolled out the sidewalks for the season yet and there really wasn't anything available other than a tarred road for a walk. We ate dinner below and had a rousing game of Apples to Apples in the main cabin before people turned in for reading and sleeping. Claire's fairy friend Beverly left her a note about how much she was enjoying the boat trip. Cindy finished reading a N. E. Bode book to Claire.

We had wind the next day...from the we set sail and headed for Owls Head. We enjoyed a pleasant run through the Fox Island Thorofare but it was lumpy coming across the bay. We had more than one person that was green in the gills so Bob steered a course so we could get straight across as quickly as we could to find the relative calm behind Monroe Island shortly after noon. Those that were ready for lunch gathered in the galley for a hot soup, rolls, salad, and cookies crafted by Jackie. Jackie incorporated all five of the recipes from the Evans chapter of the cookbook into the menu this trip!

John did his best to keep everyone entertained.

Everyone went ashore for a walk to the Owls Head Lighthouse before dinner and Brian was able to come for an afternoon visit. We grabbed the last bag of flour from the Owls Head General Store so Jackie could make coffee cake for brunch the next day. We had an anniversary celebration after dinner for John and Lu (25 years!). Jackie made a banana chocolate caramel cake (complete with candles!) that we served with champagne!

On the last morning, we raised the main and the staysail before heading back to the dock. There wasn't a lot of wind but we made use of what little there was. Everyone worked hard raising sails and the guys, Mark, Jedi John, Little John, and Dru, worked on cranking the anchor. Jedi John helped bring the anchor to the rail with Lu and Mark looking on.

This was the spread that Jackie put out for brunch for 11 people! There is two different types of melon, muffin frittatas, pasta salad, lobster salad, rolls, veggies and dip, spaghetti and home-made meatballs, coffee cake, fruit salad, and meatloaf with poached eggs. Um, yeah...there was a lot left over!

We sanded and painted the mid-ship cabins after everyone left. I did some touch-up around the sinks and on some bulkheads in the main cabin. I oiled the decks and Mark scrubbed the Charlie Noble to a nice shine. Mark also learned how to take the wood stove apart and get all the ashes out so it is efficient for Jackie. Jackie and I both did hours of shopping for staples, supplies, and groceries. And we welcomed our next group last night after preparing all the cabins and putting the finishing touches of flowers in the bud vases. My fingers are crossed for a comfortable breeze and some sun! Schooner Gam tonight!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

June 2nd...4-nights

Brian already gave a run-down of where we were for our first three nights, so here are some pictures and info about the end of our trip.

We always encourage guests to gather trash as they explore our lobster bake islands. Joe (from CA) was gone for a while and when we saw him returning to the beach, he was burdened with multiple lobster buoys that he added to the already-present collection. I had never anchored at this beach on McGlathery Island nor had a lobster bake there because there are always so many yachts already there. Early June was the perfect time to check it out and I can see now why it is so popular. Unfortunately, in a few weeks we won't be able to get anywhere near it.

We tested a new method of building our fire...see the square tub on the bottom with the round tub on top. Bob drilled some holes in the bottom of the square pot so the fire would get air from below and then he made a support piece so the lobster pot sits firmly above the fire. It worked perfectly! When we are done we simply pick up the fire pan and off we go leaving absolutely no trace. Now we just need a smaller version of the same thing so I can build the hot dogs and hamburger fire in a pan as well.

The fog rolled in as we were ashore and made for some spectacular scenery.

(My apologies for the quality of this photo.) Bob pulled out his guitar and started a lively sing-a-long. Jackie got in on the action with some great chops and even some dancing! None of us are headed for American Idol but it was the perfect way to end the day.

The fog was pretty thick the next morning and there was no wind so we weren't in a hurry to rush off the hook. We took advantage of the lack of wind and bent the topsail. That's 1st Mate John on the starboard side and guest Joe on the port side starting the process. Joe did just about everything during his trip from climbing aloft (yes, they're both in harnesses!) to steering to tacking and dealing with the heads. He was up for it all and was probably amongst the most involved guests we've ever had.

Jackie's food was outstanding and everyone commented on how quickly she has mastered the wood stove. There were claims that her corn bread was "the best I've ever had". Mark is a great constant presence both on deck and in the galley. I think we're on our way to a fun season...but I'm afraid I won't be losing any weight this year!

We anchored at Lasell Island on our last night and we were treated to multiple bald eagle sightings; both adults and immatures. At one point a mature eagle landed on the rocks near the beach and posed for photos before flying away. Throughout the trip we also saw lots of gulls, cormorants, osprey, and eiders, as well as dozens of seals both in the water and soaking up the sun on rocky outcroppings.

I learned to play poker that last night and have to report that I'm not very good. Wayne (from NH) ended up funding both Hazel (originally from England now living in ME) and me with the plastic coins and gold nuggets (Rolos) were were playing with.

Anne (from VT) was knitting helmet liners for her local National Guard and completed three while on board. Bob (from MA) and Wayne (celebrating his 70th birthday!) both took lots of pictures. Sharon (from TX) did her best to stay warm. Bonnie (from CA) easily chose the best Christmas present for her husband Joe and, I think, reached her goal of reading an entire book while on board. Hazel, an illustrator, sketched throughout the trip but also became Jackie's sous chef and was very involved in chopping and dicing in the galley. Helen (from ME) bumped her head hard on the boom but survived to share stories and philosophies learned from her unique life.

I know our guests took some great photos that they've vowed to share so I'll post more if they come in soon. I need to get better at snapping shots for a better representation of the trip from a guest perspective. We'll see how I do for the next trip.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Finally...more sailing, less painting!

Since I (Brian) will be ashore most of this summer, we are going to try and update you during our cruises with information about where Captain Brenda and the Evans are. We left the dock on Wednesday with beautiful blue skies and light breezes, eventually anchoring off Hell's Half-Acre, which is in Merchant Row, the area of many islands that passes just south of Stonington (Deer Isle). Thursday was another outstanding day for weather. They enjoyed sailing in Jericho Bay before eventually dropping anchor off McGlathery Island for a lobster bake. The reviews are coming in quickly. Our new cook Jackie has already mastered the art of cooking on our woodstove. Breads baked to perfection, and each course of every meal has been outstanding. We're back at the dock Saturday morning, and boarding guests for our next cruise Sunday afternoon. 

For those who enjoy finding these locations on a chart, try

then click on "click image to view chart" near the bottom of the page.                                       

The first link shows Rockland and the surrounding Penobscot Bay. The second link gives you the chart covering much of the area further east, including Merchant Row.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Our first over-night trip of the season...

...departs this morning! Guests came from as far away as Texas and we're all ready for a great trip. I'll be back on Saturday with photos and a description of where we went. The forecast looks pretty good although the temperatures in the 60s are a little cooler than the 90s our Texan left behind!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Spring Outfitting turns to Summer Sailing

We've made it! The last two weeks of spring outfitting were busy, busy, busy. Thanks to everyone that called or emailed to find out if we were okay (in the absence of our daily posts). Unfortunately things just got so busy there was no time (or energy) to write anything for the blog. I'm actually surprised I was able to keep it going for as long as I did!

Everyone's long days and hard work finally culminated in two day sails Sunday and Monday and with some additional painting today and some small adjustments to lines and such, we'll be ready for our first overnight guests this evening.

I'll be doing some packing today and making my bed on the boat, placing fresh flowers in all the hanging vases in the guest cabins, and bringing the final supplies and spare parts aboard for another season. It's really starting to look like home again and we hope that lots of people call to fill the empty cabins we have for our upcoming trips.

Let's go sailing!