For days we’d been looking forward to sighting the French frigate L’Hermione and following her up the coast to Castine.
Finally, the big day arrived and what a beauty it was, at least for a little while.
Then, as often happens in Maine, the fog set in, thick as pea soup making it a not so good day for boating. For two cents I’d have stayed home, but fog or no, the hubby was determined to be off so away we went.
We were not the only ones braving the fog to look for the frigate. Vessels of every kind were on the hunt, and I was very grateful for good radar that spotted them in the distance because we couldn’t see another boat until we were right on top of it.
At last, after more than an hour of circling and searching, here came L’Hermione out of the fog and looking very much like a ghost ship. What an incredibly mysterious sight!
The sheer size of the boat, the majestic sails, the complex rigging all added to the drama of the moment.
Seconds later, as if by magic, the fog gave way to a brilliant blue sunlit sky and L’Hermione was immediately surrounded by boats filled with people trying to get close up shots of this magnificent ship.
As you can see, she dwarfed everything around her.
With a flotilla that exceeded 100 boats, L’Hermione proceeded to Castine Harbor where crowds cheered her arrival.
With sails trimmed and cannons firing, she made her grand entrance.
Her crew, mostly volunteers I’m told, gathered on deck and across the water could be heard sea chantys and the wail of bagpipes.
Some brave souls rode in on the bowsprit as interested in all the goings on as the spectators.
Inside the harbor, the frigate was met by a tug that assisted her to the dock.
There she would rest for a couple of days before venturing on to her final destination, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. While in Castine, visitors would have opportunity to board and explore L’Hermione which is an exact replica of the ship that brought Lafayette to the aid of the colonies in 1780. It is meant to symbolize the long standing ties between the United States and France as well as provide an educational legacy that reminds of history many of us have forgotten.
At the end of the day, I was so appreciative of the hubby’s determination as it made for an amazing adventure, the kind that doesn’t come along every day!
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