July 9 - 23
There are several whale species found in the Bay of Fundy during the summer months - Minke, Finback, Humpbacks, and more rarely - the endangered Right whales. The whales use the bay as a feeding ground, nursery and play area. They feast on the enormous amounts of krill, squid and schools of young herring, pollock and mackerel found in the bay as a result of the powerful Fundy tides.
The peak season is August/Sept but there is some activity in July so I decided to accept Joanne Carney's (my landlord) offer, and go over to St. Andrews and do a whale watching trip on the Jolly Breeze - a beautiful tall ship. There hadn't been any whale sightings earlier in the day, but we were lucky - we saw Finback whales (one really close to the boat), harbor and grey seals, harbor porpoises.
I was lucky to sit next to Don - on a roadtrip from Pittsburgh with his daughter, visiting his other daughter and her family in St. Stephens. A recent widower, he had been a sailor his whole life but was not able to sail anymore, and was thrilled to be out on the Jolly Breeze. Made me miss my dad. He seemed quite tickled when I asked if I could take a selfie with him! A lovely day on the bay - not just the whales and the weather, but also the company. Plus we got a cup of Joanne's homemade pea soup on the trip back, a delicious bonus.
I stopped in the office to thank Joanne, then stayed to take in the beautiful St. Andrews sunset.
The Art Scene
Judy lives across the street from the apartment I've been renting. We met when Judy's sweet, gentle golden retriever Grady wanted to greet my dogs and my little-miss-not-so-bella Bella went ballistic. Once the dogs calmed down we had a nice conversation which veered to art - Judy is retired from nursing, but had always been an artist and recently got into encaustic painting! What are the odds? I told her I've been working with encaustics since February and she showed me her studio and we started comparing encaustic techniques.
The pictures of the rooster and goat are not encaustic, but intricate collages using torn, painted papers and are fabulous. The eyes of the goat are really soulful and the texture of the rooster feathers isn't fully captured in my photos.
She has some encaustic paintings for sale at the Eastport Art Gallery, an artist co-op that shows some pretty great stuff by talented local artists. She is a super cool lady - I just wish that Bella had gone crazy earlier in my trip so we would have met sooner!
Eastport Art Center - I've already featured pics from the Follies in my last blog. But the EAC is really a multi-media-mecca in Eastport. The film society features foreign or indie films every Sunday night, Friday night concert series - mostly classical duo, trio, quartets, Sat morning yoga, Wed/Thurs dance, Tues art classes, rotating art exhibits. The Passamaquoddy Symphony has a regular concert schedule at the EAC. It's a pretty darn cool space showcasing the wealth of talent in this tiny town.
She has her medium and paints warming on the hot plate near her right arm, encaustic boards and supplies stacked below.
I felt right at home and anxious to get back to Terry's encaustic studio in Aptos! I hope there is a spot open for me when I get back!
Summerkeys is in Lubec - they offer 5 day (primarily classical) music workshops on various instruments every week from June-August. Every Wed night they do a concert by one of the faculty. I made the 45 minute drive last Wed to see a jazz piano concert. Solo piano, featuring the music of Duke Ellington and Horace Silver. I enjoyed it, but felt it still had a more classical feel. While the pianist had excellent technique, he was missing that "swing" of a true jazz player. I guess I am spoiled by the Kuumbwa!
The Nature Scene
Every where you look you see water, the jagged coastline, small islands, or the muck when the tide is out! There are so many nature preserves in Eastport and the surrounding areas, I only scratched the surface. I recently went out to Pembroke (15 miles from Eastport) to check out the Reversing Falls. They really aren't falls, more like rapids that reverse direction with the extreme tides. I actually prefer the alliteration of Reversing Rapids, but who am I?? Just a lowly PFA (person from away). I wasn't there at the high tide peak, but it was still a stunning view.
I've been seeing some eagles soar by when I'm relaxing on the deck or even from the kitchen window while washing dishes! Joanne said there was a nest nearby and I finally found it. This pictures below aren't great (my iPhone doesn't zoom very well) but you can see the juvenile eagle in the nest. It has been trying to fledge for a couple of weeks. I will see it lift a few inches above the nest, but then land back in the nest. It was still there the morning I left Maine, but I think it was close to fledging.
I've been obsessed with bald eagles during my visit and was researching the origin of the eagle as our national symbol and came across this quote from Ben Franklin:
“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had NOT been chosen as the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perch’d on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him. With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping and Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America"
Sorry Ben, lazy, lousy or cowardly, the eagle is still a majestic bird!
Every vacation needs a souvenir . . .
Yes, I did get the Eastport T-shirt. And gathered the sea-glass. Oh, and I bought a house! That is one souvenir that won't fit in my suitcase! Or even my car!
It is waterfront with amazing views, walking distance to town, a duplex so I can rent the lower unit as a vacation rental (or for use by friends - I welcome visitors!), and use the upper unit as a summer residence. It is actually in pretty good condition (some repairs are needed), and is an absolute steal relative to CA property prices. GULP!!!!!
175 Water St. I will live upstairs in the summer, and rent the bottom thru AirBnB
Lane and Jim (next to me in the photo) are the ones who told me about Eastport - it's all their fault! They are from CA - Lane from Campbell and Jim from Watsonville. Lane and I even both worked at the A&W on Winchester, but not at the same time.
I met them when they stayed at my AirBnB and they told me about Eastport - that got the wheels turning. Lane's grand-daughter Katy was visiting from Gilroy. Sammie is an old friend of Lane's who resides in Virginia and co-owns an Eastport summer home with Lane and Jim. In fact Sammie (also an encaustic artist - go figure!) was the first to move to Eastport so THIS IS ALL HER FAULT!
Celebrating my purchase at the Landmark 1887 Restaurant
View from my house - looking over small pier and restaurant, to Canada. I should be able to see whales from my deck next summer!
There used to be a ferry to Canada from the pier, but no longer. Now just small boats use the pier.
Fog pics at dusk from the Chowder House restaurant below my house. The dock has some fishing activity and the restaurant closes at 9pm. Neighbors said noise isn't a problem.
Speaking of neighbors - Ann and Richard live in VA in the winter and bought their place in Eastport a couple years ago - they are 2 doors down. They have been a great help and support during my purchase process! Elise and Daniel (with Ann) will be my next door neighbors. They run an auction house near Belfast Maine and bought their place when they were asked to auction off the contents for an estate sale. They sold the contents and bought the house themselves!
My projects for next summer include repairing/furnishing my place, and also working to fix the Eastport tennis courts - here I am with Robert (jazz guitarist) after singles. Nancy Larson joked that they are "grass courts"!
While I was at Reversing Falls, I met Ray & Carol who live up the street from the falls. Transplants from Mass, they've been in Pembroke about 10+ years. I discovered that Ray writes a blog (we exchanged links) and also has some "stuff" for sale at the Commons, a gallery in Eastport. I asked if he was an artist and he said he is a whittler, just makes decoys. A "whittler" - ha! He actually makes exquisite whale carvings - the picture below doesn't do his work justice!
I'm back on the road - heading west this time. See you in August!!!