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On ships and stars and getting underway

All of us who love the ocean – and the ships who sail upon her – resonate with certain phrases. They’re the poems and stories we first heard as kids and now they are part of our “oceanside memories, made in Maine,” like the salt water in our veins that speaks to our origins. We agree with Rat in the Wind in the Willows that “there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” And each spring, whether we live in constant view of the water (as we have the luxury of doing here at Spruce Point) or far enough way that folks stop us to ask what the oar is we’re carrying, the poetry of John Masefield paces the rhythm of our daily chores with “I must go down to sea again, the lonely sea and the sky; and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.”

We are lucky to have both tall ships and stars here on the Boothbay Habor edge of the Atlantic. It’s a constant pleasure to introduce those who’ve never seen them to both. The Windjammer Days are, of course, coming up in June. But it’s in preparing Bright Line, our Old Port launch, for the water; and waiting for the transformative day that our view to the harbor turns from empty to seeing the Sarah Mead swinging on her mooring, that we feel Maine in our souls.

For all of us who grew up in docksiders spattered with bottom paint, remembering the neighborliness of the boat yard as we waved from foredeck to foredeck, beached on our cradles, spring means boat prep. It means Easter Sunday spent scraping and sanding and the smell of freshly-drilled fiberglass. The day the sun was finally high enough that we ate our sandwiches in the lee shade of the keel instead of soaking up the sun in the cockpit. Finally, the galley and the head were fresh again, the new hardware was installed, the mast and its new electronics were rigged and waiting for the chandler’s crane. Then we were afloat, and underway.

We feel exactly that sense of anticipation and excitement – it never gets old – here at Spruce Point Inn as we prepare for opening day May 22nd. Then it will be Memorial Day, soon followed by Father’s Day on the water and the commencements of so many new phases to our lives. The Sarah Mead and Bright Line will be at the landing. Guest boats will hover around our dock and moorings before heading out on a day trip to local waterside attractions and island picnics.

And we’ll feel that salt water tug in our blood and look to the stars to navigate another chapter in our story, one that certainly includes new memories made while simply messing about in boats. We’ll be underway.