Guest Author - Brenda Potter Reynolds
"Where are you going to put all that?"
I had just finished, with the help of crew member Rob, hauling my luggage over the side of the schooner Mary Day. I turned to see a woman sitting on the deck, checking out my gear. I later found out what she meant � our cabin was pretty small, and my husband (not me!) had over-packed. But I was more interested in the fact that she apparently had sailed on the Mary Day before. Indeed she had, but not just once. This would be her sixth trip!
I was surprised, but I soon learned that nearly half the 26 people on the Mary Day were at least repeat visitors, with most having sailed with her more than twice. One woman, Annie, had sailed with Captain Barry every single year for 21 years, on two different boats. Another passenger, Kathy, had taken a trip in May, and had actually booked this trip before leaving the boat! She told me that sailing on the Mary Day was "addictive".
It's easy to see why. The Mary Day is a beautiful ship, and owners Barry and Jen keep her "shipshape". (Sorry, I couldn't resist!) Seriously, when they aren't working, the Kings and the crew polish, clean, and repair; and it shows.
The muggy, foggy morning gave a haunting look to the boat-filled harbor, and created a great backdrop for photos.
I loved sleeping on the ship. We were still in Camden Harbor, and although I didn't feel the motion as much as I had expected, I loved the sensation of sleeping at sea.
Breakfast is served in the galley every morning at 8 a.m. sharp. We got to meet Captain Barry at Monday's breakfast. I'd been told that he was funny - and he was. His welcoming speech could have been a stand-up comic routine.
"We don't lock our doors in Maine," he said. "Except for this time of year. You might come home and find your kitchen filled with zucchini."
I was delighted to see a young boy with red hair and freckles poke his head through the skylight window to offer a running commentary on Barry's speech. He turned out to be Sawyer, the Kings' nine-year-old personable and bright son.
The Kings also have a young daughter, Courtney, who just as red-haired and freckled as her brother. She and Sawyer told me about their cat, Gussie, and how she was named after a man who went back to save a cat from a sinking ship. I saw them often on the trip - bare-footed, playing on deck, challenging one of the passengers to a board game.
We hadn't been out to sea long when the Kings spotted a lobster boat owned by a friend. Jen retrieved a bag of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies from the kitchen and dangled it over the side of the Mary Day. When the lobster boat maneuvered close enough, she tossed it right into the captain's hands. We looked back to see three happy crew members munching on cookies.
Lunch was homemade tomato soup, (actually, everything from the kitchen is homemade, so I won't repeat homemade every time) potato bread, peanut butter, jelly, salad, and the afore-mentioned, warm-from-the-oven cookies.
Later in the day, the sun came out. Sawyer went swimming in the ocean, and some of the adults, including my husband, followed suit.
Our crew was a varied bunch, but every single one seemed to have one goal in mind � to see that we had a wonderful trip. Rob, the crew member who had helped me with my luggage, was a soft-spoken Shakespeare fan. Sara, our First Mate, was a no-nonsense southern blond with a delightful accent. Fun-loving Curtis was always ready with a joke. He was married to Peggy, the sweet-natured Cook's Helper. Mary was the magician, I mean cook, who turned out wonderful meals cooked on a wood stove in the tiny kitchen.
In the afternoon, we docked near a small harbor, and took a boat into an even smaller town. Captain Barry warned us to watch out for a traffic jam, "if both cars showed up in town at the same time". He also told us, which I later learned to be common practice among windjammer captains, that if we got into trouble we were to say we were from the Heritage, one of the other schooners from Camden.
In town was a small store, complete with a front porch for lounging in. Several of us enjoyed reading the notices on the board outside, including one notice left us wondering�.. "Life Jacket for sale," it read. "Used once".
Tuesday was my favorite day on the Mary Day. That's a tough call to make, because we had beautiful weather throughout the week. The scenery was absolutely wonderful, and every day aboard the ship was a good day. But Tuesday was windy, and we moved right along, swaying and rocking. Sometimes the boat would tip to starboard or port side (see, I picked up some sailing jargon � thanks, Rob!) but I loved the feeling.
One of my fellow passengers, Marji, was rinsing her dishes in a pail of water on the port side when the boat tipped that way. Her husband Bob came up behind her and held onto her jacket, as if to keep her from going over the rail. How sweet!
Tuesday night was our Lobster Bake. We anchored near a small cove and took the boats to shore. Mary and the crew had already gone ashore and started a fire to cook hotdogs, hamburgers, corn-on-the-cob, and of course, lobster. By the time we arrived, the food was just coming off the grill and we just dug in.
Later, we had time to explore, or just sit on the shore and admire the view. The Mary Day looked exceptionally pretty silhouetted against the setting sun.
See photos from this trip at:Photos
The Mary Day is one of 12 windjammers of the Maine Windjammer Association. For more information or to book a trip on the Mary Day, call 800.992.2218 or see their website.
For more information about a windjammer vacation, visit the Maine Windjammer Association
Next - Sailing on the Mary Day - Wednesday through Saturday