I started this blog in December 2019 with the premises: It’s not a small world and time doesn’t fly. Now as I’m in the breech of August 2021, and what would have been the month of Colleen’s and my 31st anniversary and will be the second anniversary of her death, I’m questioning both of those premises.
Rhett, Hazel and I started this voyage in early June in Florida with the vague plan of reaching Acadia National Park in Maine and returning to Florida around November 1. We’re two months into our five months and, after traveling 1,300 nm, we are 70 nm (as the crow flies) from Bar Harbor and Acadia. While the simple math as to our distance and elapsed time seems to work, there’s just so much more that we want to see. While we were planning to slowly hop our way south after our apogee, we may end up deferring some of our southbound destinations to future voyages—the time has “gone” that quickly.
While time certainly doesn’t fly on an offshore passage when it’s 1:00 a.m. and you’re tired and have been on watch since 10:00 p.m. the day before and have four more hours to go, it moves a lot faster when you’re moored in a mirror-smooth, granite and conifer lined bay in Maine.
This brings us to the other premise: It’s not a small world.
After our night in the Dirty-Dancing-meets-Maine Sebasco Harbor Resort, complete with candle pin bowling with Ed, we sailed and steamed to Seguin Island and the Seguin Island Lighthouse. The Friends of Seguin Island have our eternal gratitude and the two-minute video on their homepage is amazing.
Seguin Island is two and a half miles out to sea from the mighty Kennebec River and its lighthouse is Maine’s second oldest and was commissioned by George Washington in 1795. From the mariner’s perspective, the only protected area on the island is a tiny cove on its north side. From the west the cove is approached by leaving Ellingwood Rock to starboard and the Seguin Ledges to port, and then making a 90° turn to starboard and heading due south into the cove.
As we prepared to make our starboard turn on a crisp and sunny Maine morning, a classic “ketch” (a two-masted sailing vessel whose mizzenmast is smaller than its mainmast and stepped ahead of its rudder post) was also approaching the island but from the north and was a couple minutes ahead of us. This vessel was about 15 feet longer than Hazel and as we successfully threaded the needle between the rock and the ledge (a literal “rock and a hard place”), we turned to the south and began following the ketch into the cove.
Although we knew there were a limited number of moorings available in the cove, it was comfortable to have the ketch in front of us and leading the way. However, once the ketch entered the cove and was close enough to see just how tight the mooring balls were to the granite shoreline, the captain promptly executed a 180° turn and exited the cove. As she passed, he called out, “No room a the inn! At least not for a boat our size. You might be able to squeeze in though.”
Those were helpful, if not totally reassuring, words. However it’s what the captain said next that rattled the foundation of my belief in my premise that it’s not a small world—keep in mind that this was a random sailboat in Maine and we had no prior plans to meet. The captain shouted out, “Were you in Georgetown, Bahamas this winter?” When we replied with a quizzical, “Yes?” He said, “You play ukulele, right?” and it elicited another confused, “Yes?” from us. He concluded with a hearty, “I play guitar and was sitting next to you in the song circle!”
As an aside, on this chilly summer Maine morning, as I go back and look at the video from that song circle, I can’t believe that a winter day—even in The Bahamas—could be so warm and blue.
Back to the story…how can it not be a small world when a boat we pass in Maine can be the same boat we hung out with in the southern Bahamas? It’s a mystery I’ll never solve.
The rest of our day on Seguin Island and our night there was enchanting. The lighthouse caretakers took us on a tour of the lighthouse and we also hiked the five trails on the island.
For my fellow physics and optics geeks, here are a few neat pictures and information about the lighthouse’s Fresnel lens.
There were hiking trails to the south wind north ends of the island, and to the ocean. We enjoyed them all immensely…
We had a nice sighting of a common yellowthroat with an insect in its beak.
Our Maine mariner friend Michael had warned us that the cove on Seguin Island is not a good overnight mooring because it’s a bit exposed to the ocean swells and that can cause your boat to rock and roll all night.
We also heard another reason why it might not be a good overnight mooring. Years ago and given the isolation of the environment, a Seguin lighthouse keeper’s wife had fallen into a deep depression. In an attempt to help her, the keeper had a piano and music brought from the mainland. The wife played and played, but only played one song—over and over. When the husband asked the wife if she might want to play some other song, she refused. The keeper, maddened by the infernal repetition, took an axe to the piano. Unfortunately, he didn’t stop there and murdered his wife as well. In his grief, he jumped off a cliff and into the sea and perished. Legend has it that in the middle of the night, an overnight visitor to the island can hear a piano playing softly.
However, as the day wore on the weather and wind settled more and more and we decided to brave the ghosts of Seguin and stay for the night. I cooked us a nice dinner and we ate as the sun set. After dinner, Rhett was doing the dishes and cleaning the galley and I picked up my ukulele and felt compelled to play “You Are My Sunshine” over and over. As Rhett wiped our big kitchen knife clean, I could see a nefarious gleam in her eye but I give her credit for not carving me like a turkey.
Staying overnight turned out to be a good decision. It was a fairly comfortable night and we heard no piano and woke to such isolated early morning beauty that it took our breath away.
While we’re on the subject of lighthouses, here are a couple other nice pictures of ones in the area…
We’re just finishing a couple days of pampering in a resort in Boothbay Harbor and plan to depart today for Damariscove Island for some hiking and then on to Penobscot Bay and Acadia.
When we have limited cell and wifi coverage we’ll continue to make text updates via our satellite tracker.
Fair winds and following seas!