Saturday, June 29, 2013

Farewell to Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea came out of the water at the pebble beach in Owl's head, exactly the same spot as she'd gone in just three years ago.

I was glad to see the boat go to an enthusiastic forager who planned to use her for that purpose.  I would have been a whole lot happier to keep the boat, but running before the financial avalanche for a couple of years made it a necessity to let go.

Sweet Pea had lived for the last year and a half in my barn. This was not where she belonged. She was not meant as a storage bin for drum sets, immersion suits and other culch that seemed to get dropped in. Megan, Matt and I tugged her out of the barn and into the sunshine. Fiona and I went and borrowed a trailer.

Fiona and I put her into the inner harbor at Matinicus so she could soak up before the 10 or so mile tow into Owl's Head. Rowing out around the ledges in the harbor, it quickly came back to me what an incredible boat she is. Sweet Pea has the balance of being super sturdy and stable while also rowing as smooth and sure as a knife through butter. With the raised oarlocks-many thanks Clayton, for everything- the rowing is, well, not effortless, but very comfortable and efficient.

Fiona and I poked around Dexter's ledge, enjoying the view of the seaweed jungle from above, tucked in tight to the rocks in a way that can't be done on a full sized vessel. I was aware how much more comfortable I was maneuvering in close to the rocks than I remember being when I was actually working the peapod. I suppose that's what comes from a couple more seasons of daily work on the water. I wish I'd been more relaxed for the two seasons I worked out of Sweet Pea.

The night before the tow to the mainland was restless as I worried about wind, sea and all the other things that can so quickly and thoroughly go wrong when a green boat operator is combined with challenges on the ocean. The worrying must have paid off, as the tow and the weather were both very peaceful. As soon as I got out of the harbor, I lengthened the tow line out and, through dumb luck, got the length such that the pod sat just on the back side of a wave in my wake and towed without any swaying or sliding sideways.

On the way across, I retraced the whole adventure in memory, from visiting the boatshop in December of 2009 through the building, launch, hauling, inventing things to make the job doable, making the boat solar, sailing, fishing, hauling out in front of big storms and now letting go.

I rowed from the wharf where I'd tied up Close Enough over to the beach, aimed the peapod toward Jon's trailer and helped winch her on. After a few minutes of conveying the unique features and things I'd done to adapt the solar setup, off they went up the hill, on their way to another part of Penobscot Bay.

This important and magical chapter is over. I am happy and sad.