Monday, April 25, 2011
Saturday, April 02, 2011
I have written a few April Fool's Day articles for the local papers over the years. The one that received the most response was one I wrote while a board member of the Friends of the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse about the lighthouse being moved from the breakwater to the public landing. Lots of people were upset until they realized it was all in good fun for April Fool's Day. This is the article I wrote this year, complete with a photo-shopped image of the iceberg. And just in case it's hard to read in the scan:
Ferry passengers heading to North Haven aboard the Capt. Neal Burgess saw an unusual sight this week. NOAA scientists have revealed that they have been tracking a small iceberg for several weeks after it calved off a much larger iceberg near Greenland.
“We expected prevailing winds and currents to keep this iceberg well offshore. We also expected that as it traveled south, seasonal temperatures would cause it to melt before it even got close to the U.S. Weather patterns and unseasonably cold temperatures have allowed it to track right into Penobscot Bay.” said oceanographer Hardy Frieze in an interview aboard the RV Atlantis. The Atlantis, owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, was deployed from Woods Hole specifically to handle this unique event.
A special bulletin has been issued by the United States Coast Guard to alert mariners that the iceberg is in the area, reminding them to steer clear of the obstacle until it either melts or moves out to sea. USCG Commander Sebastian Arnsdorf expressed surprise. “When I took command of Station Rockland I never expected I would be dealing with icebergs. Now that it has made its way into Penobscot Bay, we’re afraid it may be here for a while. Based on its size and composition from samples the scientists have been able to obtain, it wouldn’t surprise me if early season boaters get a chance to sail right by this thing.”
Rockland’s Harbor Master, Ed Glaser, said it will be business as usual this spring along the waterfront unless the iceberg finds its way into the harbor. “We haven’t created a plan yet to deal with the iceberg if that happens. I can hear all the Titanic jokes already though.”
Friday, April 01, 2011
It’s been 125 years since the Isaac H. Evans first slid down the ways and Captains Brenda and Brian Thomas are planning a party to honor everyone who has helped keep her going.
On Saturday, June 11th at North End Shipyard, Captains Brenda and Brian will welcome previous owners, guests, crew, captains, wooden boat enthusiasts, and the general public for an evening of music, food, dockside boat tours, and fun.
Music will be provided by Old Grey Goose, Bob Stuart and possibly Captain Ed Glaser who has a song or two about the Evans. The Captains plan to serve appetizers, beverages, and a feat of dessert engineering – a scrumptious cupcake tree – to be supplied by the Sabrosa Cupcake Co.
Finally, the captains are preparing a museum-style display of Evans memorabilia and ephemera. They are collecting anything and everything related to this magnificent ship and are asking anyone who might have souvenirs, pictures, fond trip memories, poems, songs or fun stories to share to please get in touch with the Captains Brenda and Brian Thomas and plan to come on down!
History of the Isaac H. Evans
In 1886 in Mauricetown, New Jersey, a sturdy, well-built fishing vessel, the Isaac H. Evans, was launched off the banks of the Maurice River leading into the Delaware Bay. She was built for oystering, the biggest fishing industry in America at the time. Most oyster dredgers had a life expectancy of 20 years, which the Evans far exceeded, thanks to several rebuilds along the way. During the Depression years, the Evans lay beached in the mud until the oyster industry rebounded and she was put back into service. In 1946, she was refitted as a power oyster dredge. Gone were her masts, bowsprit and all sails. Instead, she motored throughout Delaware Bay, still fishing, but needing lots of repair.
In 1971, the Evans was purchased by Captains Doug and Linda Lee, current owners of the schooner Heritage. They brought her the Bath Maritime Museum in Maine where she underwent a major overhaul and complete transformation for a new industry – windjamming. She was beautifully restored to her original condition and was designated a National Historic Landmark – a rare honor given only to vessels that are recognized for their significant historical significance to the country. Captain Brenda says, “About two weeks after I became her new owner it really hit me. I actually own a National Historic Landmark. It wasn't like renting a storefront on Main Street and opening a business or buying a fleet of kayaks to take guests on tours of Maine's beautiful coast; it really was more of a commitment to the stewardship of a piece of maritime history. I've come to feel that I am just one link in the great chain of her life.”
But simply owning the Evans would mean little to Captain Brenda without sharing the experience with her guests. She says, “We specialize in family trips and having the opportunity to see young kids excited about a real experience rather than amusement park rides or video games really makes it all worthwhile to me. There are several museums in the U.S. where kids can walk the decks of historic boats and turn the wheel and pretend to be a sea captain, but on the decks of the Evans those same kids can take the helm and steer us for our next destination. Rather than just reading about how life used to be for sailors they can experience it first hand aboard a working artifact. There's nothing quite like it when their eyes light up and the huge grin spreads across their face as they realize that they are steering a piece of history.”
Asked how she feels about the schooner’s upcoming anniversary, Captain Brenda says, ”125 years is a big deal . . . especially when you’re talking about a wooden boat with the history that the Evans has. She has survived a few near tragedies and gets to visit small harbors other windjammers can't. She has gone from carrying oysters to carrying people on vacation. She has gone from pure sail to having an engine to pure sail once again. If she were a human, her memoirs would be a fun read!”
The sailing schedule for the Isaac H. Evans is available online.