Friday, March 19, 2010

Pirate Fun!

I saw an article in a local paper the other day with the headline: Pirates Seeking Recruits. I always imagined sailors joining the ranks by getting shanghaied after a drunken night ashore or after their ship was pillaged but not through the newspaper!

Of course, we're not talking about real pirates here, although they still exist today even beyond the highly publicized Somali pirates. We're talking about pirate fun...kind of like Renaissance Fair enthusiasts. The article informs the reader that the Pirates of the Dark Rose are looking for some new buccaneers and invite people to a sword-fighting demonstration. Arrrrggh! If you're in Mid-Coast Maine tomorrow (March 21st) you might want to check that out!

We use plastic or foam swords on the schooner.
(photo credit: Robert Nedderman)

Or you can join us aboard the Evans for a Pirate Adventure Cruise this summer. On August 8th or August 15 you can board the Evans to sail away into the legendary world of friendly swashbucklers, spirited pirates, scallywags, and undesirables. But beware . . . you may be called upon to defend the ship by fighting with swords, firing the cannon, or shooting the sling-shot with our environmentally-friendly ammo (marshmallows and bread balls).

(photo credit: Erik Streed) Other windjammers fear our cannon...

...and our slingshots! (photo credit: Adam Cutter)

Perhaps you'll be made to walk the plank. Discover treasure and take your share of the loot. Scarf down worm sandwiches and pirate punch but . . . bring your own grog. It won't be "all pirate, all the time" but you can fulfill your fantasy to act like a pirate as much or as little as you like.

"'Dis here is my island, I tell ya'. I be landin' here first!" (photo credit Bob Batt)

Have you ever been served a lobster dinner by a pirate? (photo credit Bob Batt)

A Pirate Adventure group in their pirate hats and eye-patches.

"Yo, ho, yo ho, it's the pirate's life for me!"

My Favorite Little Sea Bird - the Guillemot

If you've sailed on the Evans, you probably know that I love little guillemots. I really like to see their more popular cousins too, the puffin, but I usually only get to see them once a season and that's if I'm lucky. What I love about the guillemot is their size, their bright red feet, and the fact that they signal the season; I always know that when they start losing their sleek black color and white wing patch to a scruffy looking mottled gray, they are on the way to their winter white and we'll be putting the schooner under winter wraps soon.

Now that winter is almost over, they are molting and will soon be shiny black again.

photo by Don Reimer

To learn more about guillemots, here's a link to a recent article written by Maine birder Don Reimer:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Maine Windjammers - Tourism's Best Kept Secret

Windjammer vacations are likely one of tourism’s best kept secrets. Most people that do know about windjammer vacations probably immediately think of the tall ships of the now-defunct company that once carried 100 to 150 passengers at a time on trips in the Caribbean. One needn’t look far online to learn of the many people that sailed several times on these I read stressed rum punch, swizzles, Topless Tuesday, limbo contests, conga lines, and other wild party activities while some touched on relaxing, or helping the crew with the sails.

We have received several requests from people that have experienced a Caribbean windjammer vacation and are now looking for a replacement. It’s important for us to stress the differences and educate these potential travelers that Maine windjammer trips are not at all what they may be used to. Some will look elsewhere for the party atmosphere they prefer, but others will transcend to a whole new level of vacation enjoyment when they discover Maine windjamming.

Click this image for information about our Pirate Adventure Trips!

When you are welcomed aboard the Schooner Isaac H. Evans, you are shown to your cozy cabin and allowed some time to settle in at your own pace. There are fresh flowers
decorating a buffet of coffee, tea, iced tea, lemonade, cookies, and fresh fruit. What, no rum punch? Alcoholic beverages and soda are not provided, but coolers and ice are, and you are welcome to bring any beverages you choose; moderation is encouraged.

The captain joins everyone for Captain’s Call where guests introduce themselves in a group setting and the important safety rules are covered. The rest of the evening is spent in informal conversation and anticipation of departure the following morning.

Rather than spending all day off the ship at various ports, our days are spent on board sailing. We soak up the sun and relax on deck in awe of the beauty of the Maine coast as we sail by or we blow the fog horn when the weather dictates. There is no loud music to interfere with the sound of the waves lapping against the hull or the wind catching the sails. Our shared stories are full of life experiences, humorous anecdotes, and unique perspectives. With only 22 guests on board, there is ample opportunity to meet everyone and guests often stay in touch with one another long after their Evans experience. Though we don’t stress education, most guests learn about sailing, history, and our local communities just through these moments of quiet conversation.

Our afternoons and evenings at anchor are filled with lobster bakes on remote beaches, island exploration, visits to quaint island towns, board games, sing-a-longs, and quiet contemplation. Unfettered by light pollution, our nights are filled with star gazing and the gentle rocking of the schooner at rest. When you wake in the morning to the smell of the wood stove and you wander the deck with your first mug of hot coffee, you'll think you've stepped back in time to an era when hundreds of schooners graced the waters of Maine.

Instead of midnight buffets, guests enjoy a connection with nature and with friends, new and old, and a sense of place. Folks new to a Maine windjammer cruise, more often than not, discover that it’s the vacation of a lifetime, and an experience they come to look forward to, year after year. Our job is to step back and let everyone take it all in at their own pace.

Of course, one of the high-lights of any Maine windjammer trip is the lobster bake. Everyone goes ashore to an uninhabited island to stretch their legs and explore while the captain and crew prepare a smorgasbord of steamed lobsters, corn on the cob, hamburgers, hot dogs,chips, dips, veggies, and more. The captain and first mate serve you a glass of champagne or sparkling cider while you enjoy your first butter-soaked morsel. Make sure to leave room for s'mores!

For those that need at least one connection to their Caribbean windjammer vacation, join us for our September 12th, six-night adventure. We’ll be sailing to the Wooden Boat School on Tuesday, September 14th, for the last informal gathering of the Maine fleet for the 2010 season where there will be an onshore party complete with a 38-member steel drum band. Tour the WoodenBoat School and store and be treated to an appetizer of steamed mussels with melted butter as well as cheese and crackers. You won’t believe your ears as you are transported thousands of miles away by the distinctive and magical sounds of steel drums; Maine windjamming and the best of both worlds!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Rockland is full of turkeys!

Rockland really is full of turkeys....literally! Izze alerted us to these visitors one afternoon this winter and I did my best to get a couple pictures of them without leaving the house and scaring them away.

Although there are only four turkeys in my photos there were a few more that I didn't capture. We also saw about a dozen turkeys on the golf course last week right next to Route 17. They didn't seem concerned about the nearby traffic at all.

Izze also barks at night sometimes and our best guess is that he is barking at the deer that leave tracks all over the neighborhood. When I take him for his morning walk there are always deer tracks alongside the road. It seems that our little neighborhood actually has quite a bit of wildlife.