Bantry Bay Gig Overnight on Islesboro, by Laurel

Updated: Dec 20, 2019

Ten students from the Ecology Learning Center Bridge Program participated in an overnight boating/camping trip with 8 adults in September. It was blastfully great!!

After lunch at the shore we gathered for a team building which took an hour. But Captain Arista wanted to leave long before that. So she wanted to say 15 minutes after the team build, but she said 20 minutes. We got on our life jackets and loaded 3 coolers with all the food, which was a tight fit. We managed to stuff our duffel bags into yellow dry bags and trash bags, and made it across heavily loaded with everything but the wood staying dry.

Finally! It took forever to get out. We left the dock only to row the whole way. We had intended on going to Warren Island, but with 10 miles to row because of no wind, the only alternative was Marshall Cove on the north end of Islesboro, which was 5 miles less. So by rowing we got there by sunset.

The ship that got there first was Humanité. It took forever to get a fire going because the only dry wood was what we brought that somehow turned wet in the bottom of the boat and the wood on the beach was wet from the 2 inches of rain before the trip. Finally we got the fire going and we waited for the other ship, Loyauté. We made our raid onto a strange place and camped the night after dinner of spaghetti and fire roasted corn.

The next day we walked to Turtle Head after a breakfast of pancakes, fruit and bacon. Lena, a guest teacher from Sweden, talked about Viking boats, and we learned that Vikings likely had square sails which were flat out hanging over the water. We tried navigating with a sun stone and a sun compass that she demonstrated.

The Bantry Bay gigs, Loyauté and Humanité, are rowing and sailing boats. Rowing was a team effort and the sailing equally so. The oars in the boats were very long and made of wood and hard to maneuver. In getting the oars out to row we had to have the oar behind us to give the oar to a port or starboard side rower. If you don't know, port is the left side and starboard the right, for those of you who are not sailors. When sailing or rowing we had to stay attentive at all times. When we had to lower sail and bring it over we had to get out of the way quickly and be ready to have jobs thrown at us by the Captain like “dip the lug” or “come to oars” or “tighten the rig”.

Now this is the second time I've been in a boat like this. I didn’t expect this boat to tip like normal boats do, but this one was tippier so it was definitely teamwork on a Bantry Bay gig. We sang and had wondrous fun sailing and rowing. We sailed back into Belfast late in the day and had a lunch of sandwiches and went home after that.

It was adventurous on the ocean with the wind and the waves; just where Life should begin!!!


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