Sunday, September 6, 2009

Irish Ale and Pirates

We heard about an Irish Pub that has live music after lunch. Let's go, we said. It didn't matter that it was in Lubec, the last town downeast before you reach Canada—about two hours from us. So we hopped in the car on a perfect late summer morning around 8:00 a.m. We decided to make a day of it and return to Schoodic to see how it faired after Hurricane Bill took a slap at it. It was less than an hour out of the way.

What we found when we got there was pretty amazing. Trees that had a tenuous hold on the rocks were uprooted and toppled to the ground. Their skeletons will bleach in the salt air, then be carried away by the next big storm to land who knows where. Boulders weighing several hundred pounds were strewn across the road, many feet from where they'd been settled as barriers, pushed off the pavement by heavy equipment and left as reminders of nature's fury. Perhaps, those who hadn't seen what it looked like before the storm wouldn't see the changes, but we did.

Click on the first link to view a video that gives you an idea of how serene Schoodic normally is. We tried to match the exact location and tide yesterday to the tide we took in the video during the hurricane (click on the second link).

After taking in the calm beauty of the sea at Schoodic, we ventured further downeast along Route 1, through small fishing villages, blueberry barrens, and old, open farmland, resting now, without plough or livestock to tend to it. Soon it will be reclaimed by trees and turn back into the woods it was a couple hundred years ago.

A little after noon, we arrived in Lubec. It's a small fishing town overlooking Canada. Home of West Quoddy Lighthouse and some pretty large tides that rise and fall at the rate of 5 feet an hour. You'd best know were high land is if you're on the beach or exploring and island at low tide so you have time to get to it before you're stranded.

We drove right to the end of the road, literally. At the juncture where you can choose to go to Canada or stay in the US, you take a left and follow the coast for a few hundred feet and then you see it. Cohill's Inn and Pub.

We searched for a place to park, as across the street is the ocean and a busy boat launch. We find a spot and walk in.

The place is filled with pirates!! Yup, Aaarrgh, matey! Eye patches, buxom women in wench-wear, men in ruffled shirts, breeks and long coats. And ale. Lots and lots of ale.

We walked up to the bar and the owner/bartender is wearing a kilt with a skull and cross bone t-shirt. I can't help it, but I love pirates! I looked at the owner with a broad grin and said excitedly, "I didn't know there'd be pirates here today!"

"We were invaded," he said happily, as though it occurred regularly.

So we took a seat with an incredible view of the water and ordered a Guiness and Harp. With our ales came a slightly inebriated older gentleman who took a seat at our table. He was a happy sort and told us he lived in the Virgin Islands, a place where there were no virgins.

"You saw to that, I suppose," I said to him.

He smiled and feigned shock, sadly said that he had nothing to do with it, then introduced himself as Mr. Moe. We chatted for a while until his wife was finished talking with a few of the pirates. I hope you're getting an idea of how crazy this was, and it was very fun. Music blasting, beer bottles clinking together, and pirates talking with themselves and anyone who wanted to join them at the tables, and walking around town. The funniest thing is that Mainers aren't fazed by much. They'd just drive by, take a look, raise an eyebrow and continue doing what they were doing. It's a bit like dream where everything—no matter how absurd—makes perfect sense. You gotta love it!

Soon, the pirates—and Mr. Moe, along with his lovely wife, Beverly—meandered out. The the landlubbers returned to their car and the pirates returned to their ship. Well, lobster boat. See, a Pirate Festival was happening in Eastport, just up through the Lubec Narrows, that's where they came from. Apparently, Lubec had more of an appeal for them. Maybe Eastport didn't have an open pub! Either way, we were happy to have been entertained by the jovial lot.

When our meal was served, we ate and watched the seals and seagulls across the street catch their own lunch in the swirling waters. The seals are the black heads popping up and down. They're black and gray speckled and look much like dogs.

We got home just before dusk, tired from the day, but happy with the excursion.


Cat said...

What I wouldn't give for a fresh Maine lobster right now!! I was reading a story about the lobster wars on Matinicus Island yesterday, it was interesting. Did you ever go out there? Sounds like you had a wonderful day and pirates are always a bonus!

Mary Duncan said...

'Tis lobster season, all right. The water's been so cold this summer, they didn't begin their migration to shallow water (where the lobstermen are) until the middle of August.

Yes, the lobster wars have begun again in earnest. Between all the regulations imposed upon them, the low prices they're getting for their catch, and the price of keeping their boats afloat and rigs up to standards, it's every man for himself. Those who dare cross lines into other's territories incur the wrath of shotgun blasts or worse, boat sinkings. There have been several such incidents this summer. Many have given up the trade all together.

I've never been to that lonely rock they call Matinicus. I can't believe people still live out there. Talk about a hard way to eek out a living.

And, I agree. Pirates are always a bonus!