By Rabindranath Tagore
Early in the day it was whispered that we should sail in a boat, only thou and I, and never a soul in the world would know of this our pilgrimage to no country and to no end.
In that shoreless ocean, at thy silently listening smile my songs would swell in melodies, free as waves, free from all bondage of words.
Is the time not come yet? Are there works still to do? Lo, the evening has come down upon the shore and in the fading light the seabirds come flying to their nests.
Who knows when the chains will be off, and the boat, like the last glimmer of sunset, vanish into the night?
Aboard the L.A. Dunton, a Gloucester, MA fishing schooner from 1921 and a National Historic Landmark vessel.
The Joseph Conrad, built in 1882. This ship has demonstrations on working aloft on a square rigger, manning the capstan and dealing with the threat of fire.
The shipsmith shop, the only surviving ironworks for whaling ships from the 19th century.
Some of the other "shops" with exhibits of barrel-making, chronometers and sextants, apothecary drugs, weaving, rope-making, baskets, traps...plus a school, a church, a couple of inns and taverns, and a bank. There's also a planetarium, a few standing exhibit halls that currently have displays on women at sea and sea dogs, and numerous stages where everything from chanties to improvs about pirates are performed.
The Sabino steamboat passing Lighthouse Point. This is down near the boat shed where people can rent various little craft to take out on the river.
What's left of the schooner Australia. The skeleton of this ship is on display so people can see how the hull was built and the massive requirements for repairs. Mystic has a preservation shipyard to keep its ships restored.
Here's the Charles W. Morgan again. This ship has exhibits on whaling, some of which I loved -- seeing the quarters of the whalers, their clothing, instruments and mess kits -- and some of which I couldn't stomach, mostly anything to do with how the whales were killed and their blubber harvested and barrelled.
It's breezy and calm by the river even near the crowded spots -- sailboats passing, birds overhead.
Mystic Seaport also has a wonderful collection of nautical prints and a very good bookstore, where I behaved and bought only a $14 recreated spyglass in a wooden case, but let me tell you how tempted I was by the print of Geoff Hunt's Surprise (The Far Side of the World) with a small doodle of the ship and Jack by Hunt next to his autograph. The biggest tease of the trip so far: they are bringing out a book of Geoff Hunt's artwork next month, including, I believe, all the O'Brian book covers. I must have this! And I must wait!