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September 18, 2018

Sandra Scott Travels: Think Outside Of The Box – Go ‘Windjamming’


Last week I asked: What is a windjammer?

Large sailing ships.

the Grace Bailey

The Grace Bailey

Did you ever feel the call of the sea?

Or, feel the need to do something different?

I did and you can, too.

This is the time of the year to plan your summer adventure.

Think outside of the box.

Somewhere in my distant educational past I had to memorize – and never forgot – the first few lines from John Masefield’s “Sea Fever:”

Welcome to your quarters

Welcome to your quarters

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by…

John and I booked a five-day sail on a windjammer.

I wanted the experience to be as authentic as possible so I chose the Grace Bailey, a windjammer that is a National Historic Landmark.

In Camden, Maine, my husband and I boarded the ship and were shown to our cabin.

The double bed took up the most of the room save for a small space by the door.

Camden, Maine

Camden, Maine

Accommodations were small but then it was just for sleeping.

“Rattle those pots and pans…” is not from Masefield’s “Sea Fever” but from the song, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll.”

It was the first thing that came to mind when I work up at 4:30 a.m. the first day.

Our cabin was near the kitchen and since the Grace Bailey is true to the era, meals are cooked on a big cast iron, wood burning stove.

All that banging in the kitchen ended up in an excellent, hearty breakfast.

Time for breakfast

Time for breakfast

After breakfast, with the help of a push boat we put out to sea and learned that passengers are really the crew!

Divided into two groups, we were instructed in the way to raise the sails.

“Ready on the Throat. Ready on the Peak. Haul Away. Two-six heave. Two steps toward me. Drop the line.”

The first night we “rafted up” with other windjammers, which allowed us to go from boat to boat meeting other “sailors.”

Raising the sails

Raising the sails

One day we docked at the quaint little town of Stonington.

Gotta love Maine humor.

One sign on the dock reads: “Two Hour Birthing Limit…” and the one next to it, “No Sea Sextions.”

It was a real learning experience.

Flushing the toilet was like driving a stick shift car.

Foot on the floor pedal and keep shifting!

Sunset

Sunset

We got our exercise in the shower by using the floor pump to make the water flow.

Raising and lowering the sails became a routine part of the day.

During the heavy morning fog we took turns blowing the conch shell – the early foghorn.

Masefield wrote, “And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.”

Sailing in the fog was an ethereal experience.

One evening we anchored near Hen Island and went ashore for the most awesome lobster bake cooked on the beach.

Never has lobster and corn on the cob tasted so good.

The days took on a sublime ambiance.

Learning the ropes

Learning the ropes

No cell phones, no computers, no Internet, no television – just a wonderful sense of freedom and adventure.

The days slipped by too fast.

We were lucky because the weather was incredible.

There was plenty of time while sailing to be mesmerized by the sea.

Leaving the Grace Bailey, I remembered another Masefield line, “I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life…”

Give it a try.

It is only five days.

It will be an adventure you will never forget.

Travel Trivia Tease™: Where is La Mosquitia?

Look for the answer next week.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!

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