Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Adventures with Pete, Part 1 - YEA we found technology!

Readers: I write this entry as a letter to my cousin John Patrick as I know he would appreciate the adventures I speak of. JP is a frontiersman of sorts and currently resides in AK. His life outside of Sitka is one I someday hope to witness. I hope you enjoy the next few posts as much as I know he will!

Dear Johnny-Pat, July 19, 2010
Adventures with Pete
South Addison, Me
Crystal clear skies, Sunny and hot
I write this to you with both excitement and appreciation. I am with my childhood and good friend Pete in South Addison, Maine, on a waterfront at a place called “the Narrows”, getting ready to launch on the days adventure of island hopping and possibly fishing. I came up here with the intention of spending some time hauling Lobsters, which I have not done since the summer of 1980. Pete’s parents have not seen me since 1982 and I decided that it was high time I show my face.

The house I am staying at is totally off the grid. Pete’s parent’s who are hovering around 80 are living the potters life. Actually it’s the typical life of a Mainer, no running water, an outhouse, an outdoor solar shower that is, in itself a wonderfully intuitive invention. Water is heated in 5 gallon buckets by the sun. It is tempered to 110 degrees with boiling water heated with propane and cold water from the tap. The water is then carried down the hill (about 100 yds) down a soggy and slick path to the shower, where you will find another 5 gallon pail with a hose fitted to the bottom of it that is threaded into a shower fixture and stall. This bucket is tethered to a pulley system that you lower to fill and then hoist up to allow gravity to work its wonders. There is exactly 2 minutes of run time once the spigot is turned on, so one has to wet down, turn off the water and soap up, then allow it to run for rinsing. I was thrilled to see exactly how refreshing it was. The mosquitoes share the shower experience with you, so it is essential to make sure they too have washed behind their ears as well.

I spent the night in a bunkhouse, complete with the chamber pots under each bed. It was quite comfortable I might add, and I awoke this morning to lobster boats coming through the channel at first light, which is about 4:00 AM. This was in addition to a rather large animal bumping the bunk house at 3AM, which rattled the crap of everyone. After arising this morning I went blueberry picking, made camp coffee and oatmeal (with fresh picked berries and peanut butter of course). We ate in the sun and marveled at a small squirrel scampering in a nearby apple tree and the smell of salt and beach rose permeating the air. Life is truly grande! More later…

July 20, 2010
South Addison, Maine
Cloudy with some sun and FOG

We spent the day out on the water yesterday. We were on a mission to explore Fisherman’s Island to gather up any useful refuse that might be had, such as hog pins and line. While this may seem like a long ways to travel to secure a few items but we were off on an adventure. The sun was blazing with not a cloud in the sky. This proved to be both a blessing and a curse as the weather was grand for exploring but capable of scorching the skin. In my case, lets just say I am nursing some areas of flesh today that are almost as red as some of the rocks we traversed. When we were leaving the island we had to cross a rather large field of seaweed covered scarlet colored rocks. This had the capability of playing with the mind and I kept thinking I was stepping on millions of lobsters. My time on the island yielded a few pieces of drift wood, some sea glass, about eight rib bones to some dog sized vertebrate, a partial pelvis as well as a femur/tibia of a bird.

Our next adventure is one that your brother Brian would not approve of, yet at the same time it was a photo opp that would be typical of him. You know on that is most likely to show up on one of his Christmas cards. It is a tradition here to have your photo taken on the bell buoy. As we pulled up to the buoy and I was directed to hop off the bow and onto the buoy but I panicked, second-guessed my balance and could not pull myself off the bow of the boat. I feared that I would fall into the drink between the boat and the buoy and be crushed like a common household ant. As a competitive soul, that moment’s hesitation worked on my head all afternoon. I have come to terms with it and have decided that given a second chance I might be more successful, more on that at another time.

Upon returning to shore, I spent the afternoon on the beach painting before heading to town in search of a pottery to buy a proper mug for coffee. We returned to the camp baring some forgotten items at the store such as pickled beets. It was perfect afternoon. We ended the day on the porch with a martini and a snack of smoked herring on crackers, we had a proper polish supper of kielbasa, cabbage, beets and corn. The only thing missing was the pumpernickel, horseradish and maybe boiled potatoes. I could hear your father giggling at the fact that I was being polite and eating my kielbasa like a good little Polish girl should. He never did let me live down the day I told him I didn’t care for pork. He couldn’t imagine that being raised in a family where they served Kielbasa with a side of pork and a slab of bacon that anyone could hate the stuff. He told me that only saving grace was that I married a Jewish guy who did not keep kosher and couldn’t get enough of the stuff. It was on that very same day that he taught me to give steamers a second chance and I learned to love clams, which brings me to another point I want to make about this trip. We had also planned on securing at least one night’s dinner by doing some raking, but as luck would have it we arrived here bringing the red tide with us so procuring the succulent mollusks will not happen.

Today? Trying to figure out the weather. Maybe a hike on Campabello.

July 21, 2010
Lubec, Maine
Sunny, breezy and chilly
Dear Mr. John (Oh don’t get your hopes up about the permanence of the title!!! Just thought it would sound right today, in a sort of sea faring way!),
I write this to you from the public library in Lubec. I have just returned from Campobello where I have managed to swim in the Bay of Fundy, hike to the East Quaddy Head Light, picnic along a pull out on a causeway and look out over Friar Head. We also spent a good deal of time down on the beach at West Quaddy Head as well as we observed a bunch of Inuksuk like structures on a rock outcropping and then added to them by building a few of our own We have had an exciting day and its only 4:00 PM (though we still have laundry to do and dinner to think about).
Yesterday, was equally as interesting. We took a trip to Steven’s Island, again only accessible by boat and also requiring a trek over seaweed covered rocks. This was a bit more nerve-wracking as the rocks were fairly large and since the seaweed was so dense I was afraid that there might be crevasses. Luckily that did not materialize. We were greeted by 2 bald eagles screaming at us. After a walk around the point, we realized that the cause of their distress was actually a washed up and decaying humpback whale. There was not much left to it. The only reason I know it was a humpback was because of the bumps on its fins. We spent a good amount of time there taking pictures before being picked up on the beach where the whale was, which required a bit of immersion into the cold water. We headed back searching for a known Lobsterman to buy lobsters from. We finally succeeded, right in front of the house in the Narrows. After purchasing dinner we headed in to take showers and head into town to seek out some technology. We arrived back at the house in time for a fantastic lobster dinner, forgetting that we had 3 blocks of ice that we purchased for the cooler in the trunk. We did remember this however a few hours later and only had a minimal amount of soaking.
I found it difficult to get out of bed this morning, despite being awoken by the local lobsterman launching from the beach. After 2 cups of coffee and a cheese sandwich we were off on our adventure. I will post pictures as soon as I am home. I have taken over 500 so far and do not have the time to sort through them yet. Tomorrow? We are setting and hauling traps with Pete’s friend Ubby.
Until then…

1 comment:

mz foxcatcher said...

This is absolutely marvelous and mesmerizing..... YOU need to write a book !!
Thanks for thoroughly entertaining me today.....
**ask Pete as to who I am... wink**

Erin aka mz foxcatcher