Ocean Classroom

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Twenty young people with Ocean Classroom aboard the Westward dropped anchor on the north end of the island and came ashore late in the afternoon.  They hadn’t been on land since Nova Scotia and were in need of some well-deserved recreation.  They were great kids from all over, and thought perhaps they’d discovered an abandoned lighthouse on Seguin.  To their delight and surprise it is not abandoned and we welcomed them to play and dine in the cove.  We were invited and one young man made this caretaker a mean cheeseburger.

I had two suppers.  France had picked our first green beans from the garden and they were delicious, steamed for just seven minutes with a little butter and pepper.  They went well with the French lentil salad I’d made with lots of herbs from the garden and creamed cucumbers with dill, the way my grandmother made them with just a touch of sugar, pepper, sour cream and mayonnaise.

But in the beginning of the day, I was very excited to be expecting dear friends from my dad’s church in Huntsville, Tennessee who were vacationing in Boothbay headed for Nova Scotia in their outfitted bus with all the amenities, on Ethan’s 11AM charter.  Just before they arrived, an older couple came ashore in their motored dingy from their boat tied to one of the buoys, with a young couple from Seattle they were hosting.  The fellow was a little seasick but not willing to let that spoil the adventure.  When they left later in the day, the two women and the fellow who was host all got in the dingy with more weight than would allow it to float or be pushed out to sea, which didn’t bother him in the slightest.  He knew the tide was coming in and was perfectly content to sit there until it finally lifted the small craft out into the cove.  I’d never seen such patience and confidence.  No one is really in much of a hurry on Seguin.

When Eric and Deb and their son Jay finally came ashore with friends from Texas, they were thrilled to see the place and even though I thought they might hike around, after they toured the museum and went up to the top of the tower, we ended up at the picnic table just chatting and catching up and devouring all of the blueberry muffins I’d made that morning.  They never ate the peanut butter sandwiches they’d brought for the occasion but left me the blueberries from Tennessee.

I never even found out where the large group of folks were from who camped out on the lawn on the other side of the tower, they were so silent and peaceful, in various poses and states of sleep and reading, I thought perhaps they were all mute yogis.  France bore the brunt of many visitors allowing me to spend time with dear friends I’d not seen since we moved Dad to Oregon to an assisted living facility near my brother.  These were his people and they were family.

It was a good thing I’d already put aside some of the brown sugar cookies I’d made as well before breakfast because it was all I could think of to bring down to the kids from the Westward when they invited us to join them for barbecue.  Third mate Sam made a special trip back up to the top just to ask if I’d join them so I could hardly say no.  The two who volunteered to take the flag down were the two who wanted the cookie recipe.  Katherine knew exactly how to fold it and Oren was perfectly willing to let her show him how it’s done.  I was very impressed how well everyone got along and worked so well together.

Just as I arrived in the cove, I saw a boat motoring away from the shore with our dingy attached.  Good thing they didn’t hear me yelling at them to bring it back.  They’d only borrowed it to get ashore after they’d tied up.  It was Marine Patrol Officer Christopher Hilton who’d left a note just before France and I had arrived in May saying to give him a call if we needed anything, finally coming to pay a visit with a couple from Alaska.  I’d written him back a note and he wanted to meet me.

France radioed down that the sky had the makings of a spectacular sunset so I invited everyone back up to the top to watch it.  They played games on the lawn until it went down and probably went fast asleep in their bunks as soon as they got back to their ship.  Happy sailing to the Ocean Classroom aboard the Westward.

Tomorrow morning Jaanna the intern will arrive on the boat at 7 which will take me to Popham and a day of errands and shopping while France stays behind to train her and keep the museum, gift shop and tower open to visitors.  I’m meeting a dear friend David from Seattle and his brother Tony from Boston at three and we’re all coming back to the island where they’ll stay for three nights.  Finally, Scrabble partners!  Let the games begin.

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