We’ll Walk the Road Together
We’ve known each other for most of our lives. Even when thousands of miles separated us, we traveled the same path. I think that we both knew that it was only a matter of time before we’d share the road together.
On September 6th, 2014, we paused to recognize and celebrate the journey.
Then, we were off to one of our favorite places, a village we’d discovered together 22 years ago.
We first paddled into Stonington, Maine in July of 1992, a brief stop on a 12-day trek along the Maine Island Trail. During the intervening years, The Inn on the Harbor in Stonington was where we’d meet guests to kick off paddling tours and navigation classes amid the islands of the Merchants Row archipelago. Last year, we enjoyed the inn for the first time on our own. We knew then that we’d be back the following year.
The Inn on the Harbor is just that – on the harbor. Outside our window, Maine’s most productive lobster fleet repeats a daily routine.
By mid-afternoon, the two and three-man crews return to the docks by skiff after offloading the day’s catch.
While the lobstermen fish, the graceful schooners of Maine’s windjammer fleet ghost through the Deer Isle Thoroughfare.
We walked to the lobster co-op to pick up dinner.
“I’ll take four,” I told one of the men offloading the boats.
We steamed them up on our camp stove on the deck outside our room.
At day’s end I stood watch on the piers, trying to capture the textures of a working waterfront.
The fleet rests.
The sun sets.
The lobstermen rest.
A full moon rises.
Then, at 3:30 am, every day, the routine begins once again outside our window.
In the two shots above, I tried to capture the pre-dawn departure of the fleet. It’s truly an amazing spectacle. Outboards abuzz, skiffs leave the docks in darkness. Lobstermen zip out to their boats on the moorings. Diesel inboards awaken (along with anyone who’s sleeping nearby). Lobster boats enter the harbor to pick up fuel or crew or bait before heading southward long before the sun rises. Before returning, they’ll haul hundreds of traps apiece, then re-enter the harbor to unload the day’s catch.
While the fleet is working offshore, the docks are abuzz with the tasks of hauling, packing, and shipping the previous day’s catch that awaits in the pounds and floats nearby.
We love the working waterfront, but we also took time for walks to some of the quiet coves just outside the village.
We’d come prepared to paddle as we’d done in all of our previous trips to Stonington, but the kayak remained on the roof rack and the truck never moved until it was time to return home.
We took the time to reflect and celebrate the years that have led us to this point, along with the many adventures to follow.
As it has been for so much of our lives, we’ll continue to walk the road together.