I capture a few more images before returning to the west side of the island.
Like a child, as all adults should be, I search your face for clues. Who are you? Where did you come from?
How long will you stay?
I lie beside you, resting on one arm. Look at that!
I poke you with my finger, nothing happens.
Hmm, are you sleeping?
I stretch out on your other side as full and long as I can.
My feet want to be at one end and my head at the other, but I don’t make it. You are too big and I am too small.
I crawl on my knees from one end to the other. I gaze across your top, to see the world as you do.
The palm of my hand brushes your back.
I feel the smoothness of your ruff.
The Monarch’s cross the sea
to feed on these.
Goldenrod and Milkweed.
I wish to show you sunrise, a view to the south, the shoring of the berm a top the “itshmus”, and a little snack before I head back to camp.
Yup, I’m still eating Rose Hips. Great stuff. Now, back to camp.
Enought pondering of the workmen on boats. I want to do some exploring while the tide is out. I walk over to where my “isthmus” is located and find that the majority of the west side is mudflat. I try walking amidst the smooth cordgrass (spartina alterniflora) to keep from sinking. The plan fails, Yuck!
I discover familiar scenes at the top of “isthmus” and along its eastern side. The broken and forgotten.
One foot perched on a rock and the other on crushed stone, worn down by wind and weather. Men at work on boats, criss crossing the channel waters between Bangs and Great Chebeague. Some stay in the vicinity while others head out to Broad Sound. This is a community of people who depend on the sea to sustain their way of life.
I read the most recent report about the sustainability of community life in respect to the health of the island, including water resources, impact of bacteria and petrol pollutants upon the aquaduct resource for water and the health of the ocean due to run off, and other causality sources that create change both subtle and drastic. This health report is quite good. Some of the problems identified are a hurdle as the cost of the work is beyond the means of the people.
I’m pleased to see a town follow, make recommendations, and act to improve the future. Our disposible society tends to focus on self-gratification at the expense of future generations. Personally, I see a world that needs to make drastic changes now or expect demise in the near future, while the recent and next few generations suffer disease and death due to what we have already done.
The men who work the sea are smart, sauvy, and inventors. Their knowledge must span the nature of the earth. They must have a deep understanding of geological history and events from the past into the present, of the atmospheric conditions and changes, how they change and why, as well as the heavens above, sun, moon and even the stars.
Men in wet orange rubber, slimy gloves, old boats and new, attending to pots, hooks, nets, cranes, engines and the sea. Weathered hats and faces side by side with the youthful, just getting started. Such men on a campus of higher learning like Harvard, Stanford, and Yale would look out of place, but I think more educated than the suits that fit in.
May the world support these hard working men who give us golden entrees, lobstar, oysters, clams, shrimp, and so much more.
The gods of the sun are more powerful than this altocumulus clutter. Helios the Titan, Apollos of Olympia, and the Roman Sol Invitus will take a half day rest as the weather forecast calls for increasingly cloudy skies with possible rain tonight. For now, I’m enjoying the pleasure and warmth of their company.
Down the hatch with boring breakfast 365. Not really, but it seems like it. Calendar Islands is one of Casco Bay’s nicknames. The title comes from the fact that early history of the Bay reports that Casco Bay was once referred to as Calendar Islands because there were so many of them. The first to advocate this name was Colonel Wolfgang William Römer in the early 1700’s. He said, “There are as many islands as there are days in the year.” The number is actually between 130 to a little over 200 depending on how many barren rocks are included in the count. So, I figure that this grapenuts, dried fruit, protein powder with water saturated milk powder has gone on long enough to count as one for each of these many islands. Yuck!
My next pleasure is a treat to washing my hair and me. Great Chebeuge with its abundance of free fresh water is only a few minutes paddle away. I brought a sliver of Irish Spring brand soap. It’s aroma makes great deodorant and rub on clothing for a more pleasant smelling body when among people in “civilization.” I also grap my tiny bottle of shampoo and a bandana for drying. We all head out the door to where I’ve hung one of the water bladders on the MITA trail post.
Oh, wow. That felt good. Whew. I think I’m now as clean as my clothing. My clothes are in better shape than me as far as cleanliness is concerned. In fact, I should get to them now before the sun gods fall into their early day slumber. I stuff everything into a dry bag and haul it down to the shore. Here they are drench in salt water to rinse off as much dirt and sweat as possible. There really isn’t much for dirt, just the residue of salt water and sweat. I lay everything out on the rocks to dry. The UV from the sun disinfects them and the rocks allow for drying.
Last year’s practice trip taught me as to why the rocks work better than hanging “stuff” on a line. The results of my fist time hanging was clothing more wet than when they were hung. Duh, the sun,wind (even just a breeze) create an atmosphere of water in the air. Quite a bit of it too. Hence, why fisherman dry their nets and other items on rocks heated by the sun enough to actually dry their stuff out. My clothing and gear dry quite well too but they need to be turned over a fiew times to expedite the process.
And then, there are my boots. It doesn’t matter how many times they are rinsed out. They are not UV clean, are always damp, and something is brewing in them. Not sure what, but its kind of scary. They’re new and I didn’t think to do what i did last year. Get a pair that my feet fit in with neoprene socks on them. The socks clean up as well as any other item and create a barrier that keeps the boots a more safe environment for my feet.
I purshased high cut ones to provide maximum support for my injured knee.
Normally, I wouldn’t wear something that tall and stiff. These were a bugger to take off. The fight to remove them is a daily ritual.
It’s a perfectly wonderful day.
Blue sky, pale against the ocean.
I walk back to camp after saying my fairwells and photographing my rock discoveries. I wonder who will be able to figure out the mystery of the formations on them?
Oh, it’s such a nice day. Warm with a light breeze. I get to leave the island! I make quick work of dismantling camp and packing Abbie B. She is ready to go too. So, I release her tether to the tree and stow the rope before turning her around to drag across the sand to the water, which isn’t far.
A gentleman from Cliff Island lands right after Abbie B and me are on the water. I’m sealed in, gloves on, and paddle ready. We hold our position as he lands and offer a hello to him. The man smiles and then comments on how much he misses the buildings that have been destroyed mostly by vandalism and weather. I feel sorrt for him. It is difficult for anyone to lose a persoanl connection with history, especially when the time period spans over many year in time.
My attention turns to Abbie B who is patiently waiting. Okay, lets go and a paddle blade breaks the surface of the sea. Neither of us are in a hurry to arrive at our next destination, Bangs Island. We’ve been land-locked for too long and simply want to float upon water and explore every sight along the way. The most surprising is a Monarch Butterly flitting across the open water toward Long Island.
You got to be kidding! I know the Monarch migrates great distances and have seen them by the hundreds while living in South Dakota during this period. One very windy day grounded the Monarchs during this time. There was a tree row behind the house I lived in at the time. What a happy surprise that greeted me during a walk that led through this particular row. I was surrounded by Monarchs hanging on the leaves of the tree’s branches. Hundreds of them covering nearly every inch of free space. Their wings were folded hiding the brilliant orange color that draws many people to see them.
Back to “You got to be kidding!” It’s one thing to paddle across the open waters of a fair distance between islands, but to be such a small creature in flight. It looks as if he or she is heading for Long Island. Wow, so far on wings that seem so fragile. I’m rethinking my impression of the Monarch right now. Amazing! Truly amazing.
I take one last look at the towering rocks on the south side of Cliff Island. The are magnificient. I would like to return for a visit to Cliff Island and its people. I’m intrigued by their lifestyle of being one of the smallest working islands in Casco Bay and the kindness shown to me on the day I seriously needed to tank up on water. By Cliff Island. Sigh.
I turn my attention to Hope Island which lies due west of Cliff Island. I passed just the southern tip of it on my way to Jewell Island. Seems like weeks ago but only a few days in reality. I noted some pretty bright red roofs on the island then and paddle up close to the east side of the island to run along its length. Man, those buildings are red and what in the world are the ones with “normal” colors but bright red roofs too. We almost need special glasses to dull the shine. I say we because I feel that Abbie B’s senses are as shocked as mine. I have no clue as to what is going on with this place and make a mental note to find out when I return home.
I did just that and learned that Hope Island is owned by John and Phyllis Cacoulidis under the shelter of Scorpio Island Corporation. The couple are millionares form New York City. Click for Source. I don’t agree with their taste in color but it is their right to decorate their home and buildings as they like, Yuck! However, I do agree with their complaint regarding taxes. The huge hikes in tax rates over the past ten years or so are strangling the locals people, who live and worked on these islands for generations. What I don’t like is how the Cacoulidis’ have gone about a reduction in taxes. They have worked several schemes but the first and kind of humorous to me is that the tried to succeed from the town they belonged to CHEBEAGUE, Maine – A year ago, annoyed that property taxes on Hope Island had more than tripled, its sole occupants, a New York millionaire and his wife, sought to escape taxes by seceding from the town. They argued that their remote mansion, boat house, and helicopter pad should constitute its own town, and that therefore they should be able to set their own tax rate click here for source and more info. I also agree with the Town of Chebeague challenging the Scorpio Island Corporation and Phyllis Cacoulidis in court regarding modifications to the island that are contrary to EPA laws and Codes of Chebeague. Click here for source and detailed information.
I have no reason to dislike the Cacoulidis’ as people, just the two actions as stated above. The island belongs to them and they may decorate as they wish, LOL. I do believe that there will always be bad blood between the Cacoulidis’ and the Town of Chebeague. I wonder what the stories, yarns and other nonsense will sound like a century or more from now. Ah, more lore for the history of Casco Bay, Maine.
I only found one free photo on-line, which is below. However, I did find a site that has aerial views of Hope Island as a product for sale. Here’s the link for viewing them in lieu of seeing them here. Hope Island Photos. (Once there, click on any of the images with Red roofs for a full size view.) You may also use Google Maps.