Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Siren Song of the Ocean

Maybe it's a Maine thing. Maybe we're so tied to the sea that even those of us who live inland inevitably are drawn to the ocean. And I'm not talking about the absolutely disgusting white-trash tourist pit of Old Orchard Beach (protip: it's only enjoyable if you like seeing fat hairy French Canadian men in Speedos) but the real coastal Maine. The rocky coast. Maine isn't a beach state anyway, so I don't know why so many of my friends are all "OMG BEACH." Give me rocks over sand any time. Salty air and that persistent ocean smell (which yes, at times, can be pervasive and during times have a certain effluvia of fish) and abundant seafood. Oh yes, let me devour the crustaceans that skitter and the mollusks that cling! So yes, even This Person, this flight risk who needs her forests so badly craves the sea.

I am fortunate enough to make it once a year, to satisfy that salty itch. It's a tradition that started with just my mother and my sister Tracy, a sailing trip as her Mother's Day gift to Mom. But then I felt left out and Mom invited my two oldest nieces as well (my youngest niece, who is Tracy's daughter, is certain that all boats sink, and refuses to go). It became an awesome girl's weekend. Mom would pick me up (and usually I had my niece Heather with me, since she lived close by) and would already have my niece Vikki with her. Tracy would meet us in Rockland. We'd park in the lot at the hotel and walk downtown to the Rockland Cafe for lunch (fried shrimp) and be done in time for our sail at 1. This year, it was just Tracy, Mom, and I, as the girls have moved out of state.

We always sail with Captain Bob Pratt on A Morning in Maine (he's on Facebook, too) and his faithful companion, Poco, who invariably seeks out my sister as soon as we arrive for dog treats.
And butt scrubbies. He loves butt scrubbies.
Usually we go out sailing on Saturday and then come home on Sunday. This past Saturday was dour and foggy, with very little wind, but we went out anyway. The fog horns from the Rockland Breakwater and Owl's Head light house lowed back and forth like lost cattle and I had trouble seeing the light from Owl's Head even though he took us fairly close. Because it was a rather disappointing sail, Captain Bob invited us back on Sunday free of charge. The wind was blowing,  the sky was a crisp, pristine blue with unassuming puffy clouds. He even took us in close to the Breakwater so that the people who had trekked the mile out could kick themselves for not booking him instead of deciding to walk out to the lighthouse and back.
A Morning in Maine at dock
The Rockland Breakwater
Looking out over Penobscot Bay

 While the ocean can be tempestuous at times, there is sometime infinitely calming about sitting aboard the deck of a ketch as it sails across a bay, especially on a day like today. In the middle of the ocean, everything is behind you and you can just forget for two hours that the real world and life exists. It's been such a stressful week and I really, really needed the downtime. I needed to hang out with my sister, to be outside, to wander around shops and look at local art. Needed it so much that coming back to real life just makes me want to bawl my eyes out.
These are happy times.

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