Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Happy Birthday Isaac!
We fell in love with Maine last October when we rented a VW camper van here and spent the week camping along the coast up to Acadia National Park and back, watching the leaves turn along the way. We spent a couple of nights in Camden where we were smitten with the idea of sailing as we walked the docks looking at sailboats and daydreaming about sailing through the islands here. Less than a year later we are here actually doing it.
To back up a bit, when we were in Seattle in July we looked at a Hinckley Bermuda 40 that is for sale there, talk about smitten, we fell in love with this boat. She has gorgeous lines, huge deck space and cockpit for lounging about, and the layout below is perfect, with two separate pilot berths for the boys to snuggle into. Maine native, Bill, the eighty-plus-year-old owner, who has been sailing his whole life, was kind enough to invite us to sail with him for the day so we happily joined him, his son, and grandson for a sail from Shilshole Bay across Puget Sound and back, enjoying stories about everything from sailing, to his teaching experience in Austria. The boat sailed like a dream. She was smooth and comfortable, heeling over in her wasn't scary, her engine wasn't uber-loud, stinky, or vibratey, all the controls were easy and accessible, the side decks are huge and comfortable, perfect for snuggling two boys, one arm around each. As far as I can tell, it doesn't get any better than that.
Back to Maine. Jason found that Hinckley charters boats out of Southwest Harbor near Acadia, so we booked a charter on a Bermuda 40 with the same set-up as Bill's boat to get a feel for if this boat really worked well for us or not. After the checkout process we set sail at about 4:00 and sailed a short distance to Valley Cove where we anchored under the cliffs of the only fjord on the eastern seaboard. The following morning, we awoke with Isaac, the birthday boy, and after gifts and birthday crepes, Isaac, our dinghy captain, shuttled us to shore for a hike up the mountain for views over the water and the islands below before setting out. We decided to eat lunch as we sailed so I set to work below decks as Jason motored us out to a safe place to set sail. From above Jason excitedly called for Isaac to come see. After running up to see what the excitement was all about, he came back down giggling, his face dripping with sea water, the result of a huge wave splashing up and over the boat. The winds were high and when we entered the channel the waves were really big (for us) and close together resulting in uber-seasickness for all below. The waves were so big that when I would look up at Jason at the helm from below decks as we were climbing a wave, I could see a wall of water behind him. We all evacuated the cabin and headed up above, where Aaron curled up into a ball in the corner, the birthday boy sprawled out in front of the companion-way, feverishly reading the magic book he had received for his birthday, and I sat on my knees at the edge of the deck, shaking and waiting to throw up while waves splashed up and over the boat. Jason kept asking, "Are you ready to raise sail?" I have never felt so seasick before and was shocked by its effect on me. I felt so weak and shaky from it that I was frozen as I waited to cruck (Another side note here, the word cruck originates from when Aaron was a baby sitting in his car seat babbling away as Jason excessively accelerated. He was saying "Hey, Daddy?" when the noise "cruuuuuuuck!" escaped his mouth along with his lunch, and then he continued his sentence like nothing had happened) so raising sail would have to wait. I felt like a big wimp. Eventually I was able to get the sails up and sailing under just the jib and jigger, things improved without the noise and vibration of the engine. We decided to cut the day short and pounded our way through the waves, beating into 20-25 knot winds to the safety of Buckle Harbor, a calm, shallow cove nestled at the center of several tiny islands.
Safely anchored, I cooked a yummy birthday dinner before we sang happy birthday to Isaac just after sunset up on deck and then consumed birthday cupcakes in the darkness. While taking in our surroundings, sparkles under the water caught our eye. We spent the rest of the evening hanging over the decks, watching bioluminescent plankton glowing and sparkling as little shrimp scurried past them. We all believe in fairies. Happy twelfth birthday Isaac. We hope you had a magical day.
Click here for photos.