PENOBSCOT BAY — Friday was a glorious sailing day aboard the schooner Mary Day, with bright sun and fair winds, the latter of which brought the boat to Warren Island and then a cove on Islesboro to drop anchor in.
According to Capt. Barry King, the beautiful weather Friday was all that much more appreciated due to the weather the schooner, its 27 passengers and six crew members had toughed out Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Downpours Wednesday night made for great sleeping. And downpours Thursday morning as the first pot of Captain's Crank coffee arrived on deck was consumed under the awnings. Thursday would be a late day to start sailing, but the rains finally let up and the Mary Day was able to raise sails and head up through Eggemoggin Reach and under the Deer Isle Bridge.
The schooner ultimately dropped anchor Thursday afternoon in a cove on Lobster Island in East Penobscot Bay, where a lobster bake commenced on the beach.
Everybody was up early Friday morning, as the sun was impossible to ignore. It was a day for taking showers, both on deck and in the head shower, and for learning a little about some sea creatures. It was also the day when all the photographs taken over the course of five days would be viewed, gently critiqued and the best assembled into a slide show.
This six-day cruise was a photography and nature trip, and it offered many opportunities to combine both. Friday morning, professional photographer and avid kayaker Jim Dugan went out for a row and brought back two species of jellyfish. One was a young lion's mane jellyfish and the other was an eight-ribbed hydromedusa, as small as a pinky fingernail.
Both jellyfish were kept in seawater while many people took turns taking photographs. Meanwhile, Maine Master Naturalist Erika Carlson-Rhile pulled out a book that showed both species full grown, and she explained their qualities and ways of life.
Putting both back in the sea, it was time to go sailing. It was also time for Dugan to meet one-on-one with each guest who had taken photos. Viewing hundreds of photos in nearly each sitting, Dugan offered suggestions for better angles, framing, lighting and focus, among other things.
In every batch, Dugan pulled between eight and 20 photos that needed little adjustment or crop. These photos he would assemble into a grand slide show later that night.
Dugan spent all day Friday at the varnished table in the main saloon, rotating from photographer to photographer. Many of the passengers also sat in and listened as he guided each student in how to improve or take a different kind of shot, as all of his advice and tricks of the trade could be useful to everyone.
This day of sailing would bring the schooner from a small island off Deer Isle, up around Cape Rosier with Castine to the east. The Mary Day eventually sailed down to Islesboro to an anchorage off Warren Island State Park.
Here, many guests took advantage of the hour-long stop to get off the schooner and take a walk in the park. Others, went for a jog. And a few stayed on the boat and photographed a pair of ospreys nesting across the harbor on Spruce Island.
Turning the boat back around, it was time to head to the northwest side of Islesboro to an overnight cove to anchor in.
Friday night's meal was a Thanksgiving feast, complete with roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh steamed peas, cranberry sauce and homemade Anadama yeast rolls. The meal was enjoyed in the main saloon by candlelight with tablecloths and bottles of sparkling cider.
Dessert was homemade ice cream, both vanilla and cookies & cream, and an assortment of sundae toppings. For some on the crew, dinner was the dessert, but nobody was counting.
The night cap was Dugan's slide show of the passenger's photos, with some of his own included, as well as crew member Polina Yanovich's photos.
As each photographer's name flashed on the screen, signaling the beginning of their photos, a round of applause filled the packed saloon. Dugan's day of hard work sitting and looking at thousands of photos, and then turning the best into the slide show, was well worth the effort. Eventually, each passenger would receive a DVD of the slide show, one of the many benefits of this cruise.
Everybody went to sleep Friday night feeling pleased, proud and a little smarter as photographers. It was a grand last night of this week's rewarding sail on the Mary Day around Penobscot Bay and its islands.
Editorial Director Holly S. Edwards can be reached at email@example.com or 706-6655.