Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Maine: Rockland, Vinalhaven (3/4)

     Welcome back to Rockland Maine.  This is article 3 in a 4 article series - if you have not read the first two articles please Click Here for Article #1 and Click here for Article #2.
     Today finds us heading out to one of the Fox Islands known as Vinalhaven.

     The choir was supposed to sing in the local prison today, but some bureaucracy got in the way and so the kids get a well deserved break from their touring schedule.

     We took the ferry out, passing the Rockland Lighthouse and Owls Head lighthouse at the entrance to the harbor.

     As we head out, we alternate between 300 feet of depth and small atolls.  It seems the underwater geography mirrors that you see above water.

     There are all manner of little inlets that seem to lure you to explore the forests beyond.

      When you see small structures along the shore, it isn't always clear if you are looking at someone's home or a rich person's boat house.

     There are many picturesque spots just beyond the reach of my camera lens - but a lot of neat spots that are close as well.  It is beautiful country.

     Soon we are heading into the harbor at Vinalhaven, watching one of those schooners glide by.  I love the shape of the rocks.

     The harbor itself has all the signs of a bustling fishing village.  Almost all of the boats are work boats, and many floating piers designed to hold lobster traps and gear dot the scene.

     Some of them are fancier than others - this one even has a small shack with what looks to be chimneys for a Ben Franklin stove and for an electric generator.

     There is no man-made breakwater here - the formation of the rocks at the entrance of the harbor is near perfect to maintain calm waters.

     There is a marine repair facility with the rail trolley to pull boats out as well as one of the big traveling cranes.

     But who needs to hire someone to pull your boat out of the water when you can just let the tide run out and ground her?

     The only problem with that is that you only have about ten hours to get your work done - the tides wait for no one.  

     There are many picturesque spots along the way - it is another one of those little spots that you could spend weeks waiting and learning the right light and conditions for spectacular shots.

     The fishermen are hard at work - taking traps out is an ordeal.  They have to be loaded on the boat in big stacks, then ropes and marker buoys attached.  Hopefully you remember how to find them again.

     Some of the piers are wooden, and some are made of granite.

     And some of these houses sit right over the water when the tide is in.  I am not too sold on some of the foundations.

     This next one has an even more interesting foundation.  

     But I didn't see any of them floating off across the bay, so they must know what they are doing when they build them.

     This island has been inhabited a long time - archeological remnants show that a people called "The Red Paint People" lived here 5,000 years ago.

     Today the island is home to around 1,200 people over 23 square miles which means an average of  over ten acres per resident. 

     The town itself is one of those quaint island towns.

     Here is the sign at the local shopping mall.

     There is a small hotel, but most visitors just come over on day trips with the ferry.  There are a few kayaks available for those that want to tool around the waters.

     A freshwater lake lies just behind the town, and drains through a spillway that runs under the streets.

    It emerges beneath some shops and offices - really a nice spot if you like the sound of running water.

     There is of course the obligatory war memorial.  This one is unique though - most are statues of some menacing looking fellow way atop a pedestal.

    A number of granite quarries operated here, and they have preserved one of the wagons that used to transport the large blocks.

     The blocks were slung beneath the carriage and then pulled by horses down to the docks.

     This pig is interesting.

     It was in a restaurant window - but the place was closed and nobody seemed to know the story behind it.  It looks well worn and thirsty. I would guess it is the only remnant of a home-made carnival ride.

     All too soon our three hours here is up, and it is time to board the ferry for the return trip.

     Another one of those schooners.  Is it just me or does everyone find them alluring?

     We get back and quickly head north to Camden, where we visited last week.  The group is scheduled to sing at the outdoor amphitheater that adjoins the library. 

     I have heard choirs before, but these kids sound good.  I don't know if my familiarity with them makes it sound better or if they are just that much better than those I have heard in the past.

     The amphitheater overlooks Camden's harbor - it really is a well designed and built community space.

     A couple of the girls can hit notes that might shatter glass.

     About sixty spectators show up - it is a great show for all.

     Tomorrow we will conclude the choirs visit.  After spending a couple of days with them, I have found they are contending with some underlying currents as a group.  It will be an interesting conclusion to their visit.

     Dick is right there, complimenting and encouraging everyone who gets within his reach.

     We talk a little bit about suicide.  It seems several local children have recently killed themselves because they were ashamed of their sexual confusion.  "Whether you agree with the gay lifestyle or not we don't want the kids killing themselves" Dick says.  He is working with yet another church who is putting together an outreach specifically targeting teens who are struggling with homosexuality.   And they are not putting together a regimen to "convert" them to heterosexuality or religion - they are putting together a program to help them find hope and help them find a spiritual connection.  Hope comes up in every other sentence with Dick.  I forgot to tell him I found some Hope on Vinalhaven.

     It was outside a small art gallery.  If I had the money I would buy it, lug it back and put it in Dick's front yard.  That is its rightful place.  And his other favorite word is "Wonderful."  I need to find that for his front yard too.

     And today's "Faces in the Crowd" - these were two of the spectators at the amphitheater that didn't seem sure if they should be impressed or not.

     And today's parting shot - from the wall of a restaurant on Vinalhaven.  Two opposing clocks - all manner of different fees if they like you or not.

     Its all very confusing.  I think I will just have the bowl of chowder, the slice of pie and the hunk of cornbread.  And lobster.  A couple of lobsters,  And clam chowder - and what about the fresh halibut?

Click Here if you can contribute a few dollars to this effort or email me at David@WindCenter.org

Make it a great day !!

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