North to Maine with Fram Jr.

Fram Jr had been stationed in Martha’s Vineyard with our friends at Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway. She had a good off-season, with the necessary maintenance and care it requires to keep a 70-year-old wooden boat in working condition. The name Fram, of course, comes from Fridtjof Nansen’s great Arctic exploration vessel which he leant to Amundsen for his 1911 mission to the South Pole; Jr is in reference to our small but mighty vessel’s stature. 

The plan was to take our mighty snekke North to Maine. With our last trip being to New York City, we thought she deserved some time amongst the pine trees and scattered islands of Penobscot Bay. We would camp for a week, finding hidden islands, buy fresh lobster right off the boat, and stay up late into the night around a blazing fire. We’d pack plenty of coffee, slices of bacon, and some American Spirits for the trips between islands. If we timed the weather right, the days would still be summer-like and the leaves’ colors would just have a hint of yellow and orange. 

With some help from our friend and always reliable boat guy, Rob Lewis, Fram Jr. was on her way to Maine—and with the new installation of a canvas dodger from our friends at Sperry Sails, the nuts and bolts of our adventure were coming into place. The only missing piece was our crew… As timing would have it, we were in Norway and heading to Kenya in a few days for a week. Sometimes, we find ourselves a bit over our skis with too many ideas and not enough time… Nonetheless, we were determined to give our wooden boat the last taste of fall before she got hauled out for the winter. 

Our newest team member Henry, nicked named “Wiki” for his Wikipedia like ability to conjure a fact on almost anything at any time, had some friends in Penobscot Bay who were game to help our dream become reality. BruceElfström had a mooring, a warm cabin, and would serve as our host for a night before we set off. We stayed up late in Bruce’s cabin, talking about his current project in Mongolia breeding and training Bankhar dogs to protect local herders – with the conversation inevitably drifting towards all things philosophical. 

Back stateside, we eagerly tracked the weather with hourly updates from Henry on the East Coast’s conditions. The weather window and plan was set, we would head out on Saturday and drive up from NYC, with JC joining the following day. 

Like any good adventure, things change. With another storm bearing down on Maine’s Downeast coast and JC coming down with Salmonella after his time in the bush (more on that story later), we could have held tight, set up a field office, and waited for sickness and weather to subside – but we had things to do, important things. 

Things like collecting clams, pulling lobster pots, and learning of the region’s marine bounty from local fisherman, Kyle Robbins. Before we knew it, JC had managed to kick his bug, and make his way to Deer Isle.  

            We found a small island, no bigger than a city block, and set our Ellis Canvas tent up to rest. We sourced some local lobster, got a fire roaring, and watched as the stars fought their way through the clouds. We had, by some luck of the draw, managed to make our dream a reality for a few days among the islands.

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