This time next week I will be anchored somewhere along the Maine coast aboard the Schooner J. & E. Riggin, a historic windjammer owned and operated by my friends Anne Mahle and Jon Finger. My friend Elizabeth and her family will also be aboard (warning we will be up all night talking and giggling, or as long as we can stay awake). Sooo excited.
I first came to Maine because of the windjammer fleet, returned because of it, and most certainly stayed because of what the experience instilled in me. Rather, I should say what if confirmed in my being. I love the water, being outside, freedom, and the way things were over a century ago (in many ways, not all for obvious reasons). Nearly two decades ago, against the spectacular backdrop of some of Maine’s many islands I learned to work with my hands, trust myself, and trust others. I slept on deck throughout the summer waking in the middle of the night to see the mast reaching up into a starry sky, multiple bug bites (on my face, the only part not covered by my sleeping bag), and one one memorable occasion to people on the dock listening to Neil Young’s “Unknown Legend” as I faded in and out. It was magical. It was also a heck of a lot of work. Good, hard work. Toughen you up long days for little pay and endless rewards. Every time I go back I relive some of those moments and smile one of those broad reaching eyes glistening smiles. I love it deeply and passionately. I also really love Annie Mahle’s baking (hey lady, Congo Bars!! xo)
**Anyone can apply to be a crew member and/or go pay to go sailing. The boat sails between Boothbay to the southwest and Bar Harbor to the east just like they did a hundred years ago, with the wind and tide to determine the course and destination; they have no set itinerary. The experience gives passengers a taste of what life was like aboard these ships centuries ago. **Although, I might argue that since Mrs. Annie was not aboard one of those boats all that time ago the food might shall we say have lacked just a wee bit of oh I don’t know what I need and look forward to for weeks/months in advance and what has earned her national media coverage, hundreds of return passengers (some more than once a season and some since they first set foot on the boat after Annie and Jon bought it over a decade ago).
Photo by Elizabeth Poisson.