This past weekend, Salisbury, MA hosted the first Maritime Festival at the Salisbury State Reservation, featuring a chowder festival, a beer tent, concerts, water competitions, and three gorgeous tall ships open to the public. Our good friends, Mike and Lois, took us to the Captain's Gala Reception the first night that the ships arrived. There was a live Reggae band, a raw bar, hors d'oeuvres, and cocktails. A monsoon moved in just moments after we safely entered the festival tent, and the thunder and lightning and driving rains were truly awe-inspiring! The interior of the tent, which resembled a Barnum & Bailey circus tent and could easily accomodate 400 people, began flooding with rain water. The band had to stop playing while they moved all the electrical cords safely away. Even after the storm moved through, leaving a hazy mist in its wake, lightning continued to illuminate the skies over the ocean and around the tall ships. Very cool.
It was wonderful, but the best part was touring the three ships. There was the Roseway, from St. Croix, the Mystic from Mystic, CT, and the Spirit of South Carolina from...well, you know. My personal favorite was the Roseway, and not just because it had some of the cutest crew members! The ship itself was beautiful and graceful. The Mystic was also lovely, and wouldn't it be wonderful to book a week-long cruise through the Bahamas aboard that ship?
We took our time going through each of the ships. I loved seeing the different galleys and the sleeping compartments. The Mystic was by far the most luxurious, since they are set up for private charters, but I loved the Roseway, with its small, boxy bunks and intimate living arrangements. I'm sure by the fourth or fifth day, such tight living quarters become tedious and the smell is probably
more than a little funky, but it seemed very romantic. Here I am, at the helm of each of these lovely ships...
I always thought I'd love to be at sea; to stand on a deck and feel the ocean surging beneath the prow, with the sea wind blowing in my face. However, the reality is that I'm a complete wimp and being out on the open sea only conjures up images of me, floundering in mile-high swells until I finally sink to the ocean bottom. Last night, we went out to sea on our friends' boat to watch the fireworks over Salisbury. We didn't leave until 9 pm because of threatening weather, and the night was overcast and misty. It was eerie going out through the mouth of the Merrimack River under these conditions, but not nearly as bad as it might have been had the tall ships not been docked there; the no-wake zone imposed by the Coast Guard made it so much less treacherous! We cleared the mouth and turned north, toward New Hampshire, and once we had gone out a ways, turned the engine off and just drifted. There was a full moon last night, but it wasn't your typical full moon; it was a blood-red moon, which only made the night even more eerie. The fireworks were amazing, and then we made our way back through the mouth and inland, to Amesbury. It was an exhilarating ride, but the entire time I was certain we were going to be smashed against the jetties, or collide with another boat. We didn't, of course, but the experience just reminded me that although I think I'd like a life at sea, the reality is that I'd much rather be seaside, preferably under an umbrella with a cocktail in my hand!