Berth of Cool
You have no choice but to admire a good shitstorm. If your tire goes flat on the highway, you have every right to kick the wheel and curse the fates. But if you accidentally lock your keys in your car when you go out to inspect the flat, you have no choice but to take a seat on the hood, slap your knee, and guffaw at the sheer absurdity of chance.
Relaxation is a mysterious thing. At a glance, it seems rather simple: combine a peaceful setting with a span of unencumbered time, and relaxation should theoretically ensue. But relaxation isn't formulaic; the mixed ingredients don't always catalyze.
I am especially bad at relaxing.
It's a bluebird day over Penobscot Bay: sunny, warm, not a cloud in the sky. I started the day in a rowboat with a fellow passenger named Richard. We'd both hoped for a solo excursion, but when a deckhand
And so it was that I parked my car on a sunny Saturday, slung my dry bag over my shoulder, and sauntered coolly across Camden's Harbor Park toward the Mary Day. A
I wake up to the sound of the yawlboat's motor; the Mercantile is already in motion. I get dressed and go topsides for a cup of coffee. The sails are still furled, there's little wind, and Penobscot Bay is flat calm. The air is warm and sunny with a touch of humidity. It's going to be a hot day back on land.
Matt rings the breakfast bell and Alison carries quiche out of the galley and onto the deck. When I'm done eating, I walk back to
My hands are blistered, raw, and splintered from handling the rough manila lines over the past two days. As I slowly awaken in my bunk, and my mind shifts from dreams to reality, my hands are my first point of conscious awareness. The sharp pain in my shoulder is a close second. My body feels abused; I feel like a tired old man. I get dressed and go directly for a cup of strong Mercantile coffee, blueberry pancakes, and sausage.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
A few hours before I went to bed, John, a fellow passenger, gave me a pair of foam earplugs.
"You're going to need these," John said.
"You'll see," he said.
Sure enough, when I finally went belowdecks to get some sleep, I heard a passenger in an adjacent cabin snoring away like a hibernating grizzly. I turned off the light, crawled into my bunk, and tried to focus on the pleasant sounds of wavelets chiming against
I'm sitting on a park bench on the edge of Camden's inner harbor. It's a fine spring morning; the kind of day that's difficult to dress for. A t-shirt is too sparse in the breeze, but whenever the wind lies down and the sun feels too oppressive, I take off my foul-weather jacket and drape it over my knee.
In the middle of the inner harbor, Captain Ray's crews scramble atop his three windjammers - the Mercantile, Grace Bailey, and Mistress.
It's nearing 6:00 p.m. on a hot and sunny spring evening in Rockland. High tide is about an hour away, and a small crowd of schooner bums has gathered at the North End Shipyard to watch the show. The Nathaniel Bowditch is about to haul out.
It's 6:30 p.m. and Captain Noah Barnes has just arrived at his Rockland home. Today is Cinco de Mayo, and Barnes is throwing an impromptu party for his crew. In the kitchen, the Schooner Sisters mix up a batch of margaritas while Barnes takes a seat at the table. Despite another long day of fit-out, the captain is bright-eyed and energetic. The Stephen Taber captain is a comfortable and entertaining speaker; while so many of us speak in rough drafts, Barnes presents a finished product.