Friday, October 23, 2009


My 11-year-old daughter Caroline, who is home-schooling this year for 6th grade, accompanied me on a two-week trip to Nova Scotia. We just got back Saturday evening.
We did some tent camping (colder than we had expected!), stayed with friends in D.C. and upstate New York and stayed in a few Canadian B&Bs. The fall leaves were just reaching their peak in New England and the Canadian Maritimes.

So what does this have to do with schooners?

In Lunenburg, Nova Scotia we visited the Fisherman’s Museum of the Atlantic where we went aboard the Theresa E. Connor, which fished the Grand Banks right up until 1963. Aboard a more modern side-trawler, we chatted with a docent who had fished those waters (under power) for more than forty years. And, of course, we saw the famous Bluenose II, which we could not board since she was undergoing maintenance. I’ve never seen bright work so meticulously cared for. From our hotel across the harbor, we had a terrific view of the museum and the Bluenose. (see photo).

On the way home we stopped in at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. I was surprised to see the Amistad docked there since she had been at The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race with us last year and I’d assumed she’d be there again this month.

This was the perfect year for us to visit museums: at 11, Caroline still qualifies as a child for admission purposes, while I (now 65!) have joined the ranks of the “seniors.”

Passing through the Hampton Roads area on Saturday, we swung by the Portsmouth waterfront to see the schooners just finishing the 20th annual GCBSR. Considering the weather they had, I can’t really say I’m sorry to have missed the race this year. I am sort of thinking of joining the race next year, however.

This coming week, I’ll be joining Philip Howard and David Senseney at the Third Annual Ocrafolk School (Gary Mitchell’s brainchild) where we’ll teach a combined course in the natural history, human history and nautical traditions of Ocracoke.


By popular demand, we’ve finally put a recording of my poem, “A Pirate’s Christmas” up on itunes, available for downloads. We’re working on cranking out a gift CD of it to be available for purchase on the website in time for Christmas. Stay tuned.