Sailing on the Schooner Mary Day

There’s a renewal of spirit as soon as we set sail on the Schooner Mary Day. The smell of wood mixes with the salty air as we glide out of that postcard-perfect Camden Harbor, gently crawling by the other historic schooners and yachts in the early morning fog. Goodbye mainland and the endless barrage of bad news, hello loons, anonymous pine-studded islands, and wide open water to bathe away all woes of modernity. I take deep gulps of the crisp air and breathe deeply.  

There’s 6 crew and 25 passengers from across America on our 3-night voyage, all under the more than capable helm of hirsute Captain Barry King. We’re asked to participate as much or as little as we like. My daughter and I jump at the opportunity to pull on the halyards of the main, joining many others in the group. The large sail rises, linked to a massive mast that still stands from the original 1962 design. With all sails up, the 90′ Mary Day is a beauty, as evidenced by all the motorboats that come by our side during the trip to take photos. We sail by the first of many lighthouses as Captain Barry bellows, “Porpoises on the starboard side,” only to watch the fins of their small gracefully arched backs break the water’s surface. 
Maine’s vast shoreline is best appreciated from the water. The Camden Hills rise above the mainland, island upon island form a welcome mat to the sea, rimmed with granite and topped with pine. Often we pass islands where one fortunate soul owns the lone house, sailboat docked, ready for service whenever he or she pleases. But today, there are more porpoises, seals, and bald eagles flying overhead than boats on the water. I breathe in more of that heavenly air, lie down and look up at the sails. Life is good.