North Hero | July 2
by Kathleen Carney
SUNDAY, JUNE 28, 2009
We said goodbye to Isle La Motte on Sunday morning, June 28th, disengaging ourselves from our complex (and successful) mooring arrangements, only to have the crew set about fine-tuning the details of tying up at our next port-of-call, North Hero, at a light-duty dock in very shallow water. You might think of this as a chore, but Roger, Erick & Company seemed to find it fun. Drawings were sketched out, pored over, debated. Discussions followed, weighing the effectiveness of the line placement and the pros and cons of each of the Schooner's anchors: The modern Danforth? Our trusty, traditional Admiralty Pattern? The "new" old-fashioned, well worn, but sturdy anchor recovered from the rose garden at the Museum in Basin Harbor?
Zach Ralph and Steve Zonie weigh anchor from Isle La Motte. All photos by Kathleen Carney.
As we approached the dock at City Bay, North Hero, Kerry and Tom set off in the Oocher to blaze a trail through the moorings and take soundings at the dock. They discovered that there was barely enough depth to allow the Churchill to pilot us into position--4 ½ feet. Those of us looking down into the clear water from on deck thought that was a generous measurement! But, of course, the sounding pole was correct, and we eased in with no problem.
Once in position at the dock, it was time to put into effect the mooring plan the crew had worked out: Erick got into his diving gear and attached short lines from the Schooner to each of two big concrete blocks near the boat. The Oocher crew set an anchor (the Admiralty) out ahead to hold the schooner off the dock. Finally, a long stern line was looped around the trunk of a tree ashore "just in case" the wind shifted. The Lois McClure was snug and secure, tied up with no strain at all on a dock designed for much lighter craft.
The crew set about our usual port arrival chores. First, construct the gangway for boarding: un-stack the parts and pieces from their stowage place on deck, fit them together like a puzzle, tweak a bit here and hammer a little there to coax reluctant pieces into position. Next, erect on-shore the series of display panels that tell the story of Discover 1609, a ritual that involves filling plastic containers with water to weigh down each panel, erecting poles at either end of "the line," and stringing a rope between the poles to anchor the panels at the top. Then Tom got out his colored chalk and put a greeting and the details of our opening hours, etc., on the sandwich board. Lenny, bless him, found an outlet on shore where we could plug into electrical power. We found a source of water to fill our drinking water jugs across the road at Hero's Welcome. We checked out the heads (port-o-potties at Hero's Welcome), Wi-fi (at Hero's Welcome), and, most important, ice cream (at Hero's Welcome). Needless to say, we became devotees of this something-for-every-person-in-almost-any-situation general store. (Most unusual offering: do-it-yourself dentist's tools. No, thank you.) And I, as the Commissary Commissioner, am most deeply grateful to Hero's Welcome for their generous and unlimited donation of block ice to keep our provisions cold and fresh. Hero's Welcome also donated the dock we tied to--the essential element that made our North Hero visit possible. Thank you!
Thanks also to Jane Lendway, recently retired State Historic Preservation Officer and our neighbor on the shore, who gave the crew shower privileges in her lovely home. The North Hero House also made showers available for us. Believe me, a clean crew is a happy crew!
MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2009
So there we were on Monday morning, the 29th, decks scrubbed, everything in 1862-mode, the crew clean and shiny and caught up on their e-mail, ready for visitors. And it was raining buckets. Gray and wet and raining so hard that we were mopping up the sole of the cargo hold non-stop. We thought our first day in North Hero would be, literally, a washout. WRONG. The first visitors were standing in the rain, waiting to come on board at 10 a.m. sharp. And, as the rain wore on during the day, the folks of North Hero kept on coming to hear our piece of Lake Champlain history. At the end of the day, more than 300 people had braved the weather to visit the Lois McClure.
TUESDAY, JUNE 30, 2009
My birthday! So, here the Log must take a break. Roger and I had the day off, our crewmates, Barb and Kerry, gave us the keys to their car, and we abandoned ship. I can tell you that almost 400 people visited the schooner that day, despite continued showers and rumblings of thunder. And that Jane Lendway and her husband, Alan, hosted the crew to an incredible (indoor-because-of-the-weather) barbecue. Here's the way my shipmates described it to me: "thick, juicy steaks, baked potatoes, corn, and salad, with brownies, fruit, and out-of-this-world shortbread for dessert"-what a treat!
On July 1st, the wet weather continued, but so did the visitors. By the end of our three days in North Hero, almost 1200 people had visited the Lois McClure--not bad for a town with a population of 810!
THURSDAY, JULY 2, 2009
Rest day--sort of. Where boats are concerned, there are always jobs that need doing: Tom and Zach's never-ending scrubbing; the installation of a new pump at the galley sink by John and Len; Barb's inventorying the Ship's Store and folding, folding, folding t-shirts; Roger and Erick pondering the next mooring setup at Mallett's Bay; Tom and Zach (again) fetching blocks of ice, Kerry keeping everything in order from the computers to the head, and me, well, even on a rest day, folks have to eat!
Thursday, the 2nd, was a rest day for the crew. Mid-morning, we had a surprise visit and impromptu concert from "Potluck," three good folks: Jack Harrington, Donna Martin, and Burnie Martin, with two guitars and great harmony-and a yellow Lab, Harley Harrington, who is billed as Artistic Director. That was a lovely start to the day. Thank you, Potluck!
"Potluck" in concert on the McClure, under the watchful eye of Artistic Director Harley the lab.
On to Malletts Bay in the morning....