Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Welcoming the Hermione to Castine

Crowds fill Fort Madison, and all other access points along the harbor
"Vive la France!"  the cry came up behind me from the crowd at Fort Madison.

 When was the last time Castine harbor heard that cry?  Maybe in the mid 1600's when Baron Castin was still in residence.  Then the cry might have come from Fort Pentogoet, located near where Our Lady of Holy Hope is currently located, as soldiers saw ships coming in with new supplies.

   Certainly that cry had not  been heard from Fort Madison, a U.S. fort built in 1809 to defend against another English capture of Castine.  When Castine was again attacked in 1814 by the English the poorly staffed fort made one token shot, spiked their cannons and disbanded.

Arriving out of the mist
  But on July 14, 2015, the cry was to honor a visit from the Hermoine, a replica of the ship on which Lafayette sailed to America in 1780, bringing with him crucial military strategies used during the Revolutionary War, and more importantly,  support for an independent United States from an established European country.

  It was the perfect day for a ship to visit.  There was light fog on the water, making it easier to transport back in time to when sailing ships ruled the seas.

The side of the canoe reads:  "Water is a blessing for all life."

  We'd arrived at Wadsworth Cove at 1PM, and launched from there to the harbor, it was about three when the ships began to enter the harbor.  We'd passed our time paddling up and down, and chatting with other folks in small boats, including Reinhard Zollitsch, who along with making several long canoe journeys has also helped race sailing schooners.

  It wasn't only the Hermione that arrived, but a whole flotilla of boats, everything from schooners and yachts to dories and kayaks.
The second boat appears to be a sailing diesel yacht

   Some ships announced their arrival with cannon fire, others with honks or fog horns.   A very festive event; though it might be fair to state it was also a bit zoo-ey and many kayaks seemed to disregard any guidance about taking care near large boats.

  But to see such a grand ship sailing - what can you say but "C'est magnifique!"

More about the Hermione
More about the Hermione visit in Castine   Several streets in Castine have been set up as temporary one way streets to allow for more parking.  Even so, it seemed like every spot was filled when we left....


  1. Nice series of pictures and narrative.

  2. Love the photos of the ships! Looks like you had a great time!

    1. It was an amazing day! I loved seeing a warship come into Castine Harbor! Although my face did wind up getting burned... Too much time spent facing south I guess!

      nice to see that you've been able to get out this year!