I became very nostalgic in reading recent reports, especially the poems of Sally Levy. I remember her so well for getting us singing on our hikes. Things here on the Coast of Maine have changed, but I'm sure you could walk and feel the things Sally describes.
We still hike over Morse Mountain and down to Seawall. It is the only access to that beach these days unless you are a member of the Small Point Association, which is required for crossing the tidal river down the driveway from the former Wyman's store.
We used to go anywhere, but it is not so simple any more with too many No Trespassing signs to greet you. For example, to go out to Bald Head is not so simple, though I have made friends with the owner of that territory and can take you there. Bald Head is still undeveloped and beautiful.
Fishing and blueberrying were so much a part of the Alliquippa agenda, but those have changed. The Flounder are very scarce, though I often bump into small ones while snorkeling. Bluefish and Stripers have had their day, but Mackerel are still around. Years ago we didn't pay attention to the Mussels, but I now prefer them over clams! My brother, Dan Peacock, is well known for his mussel dishes and is known as the Mussel/Muscle Man.
Blueberries are harder to find, I think because there has been a lot of tree growth. In hiking over Morse Mountain , I usually only find Highbush Blueberries, which ripen later in the season.
Yes, the Mosquitoes, Greenhead Flies are still here. What would Maine be without them? We've had invasions of other troublesome insects such as Browntail Moths and Black Flies, so you have to be prepared. I've become an insect lover and hunt down the moths and butterflies that don't bite, thank goodness.
I read in Beth Peacock's report that lobsters used to be $1.60 a pound. I still have a bill from back in the early days of Alliquippa when they were only 39 cents a pound. The price was way down this past summer ($3.50) and signs were up saying "Buy more Lobstahs!" The economy and several other factors entered into the low prices. As for me, I had a thrilling catch of a ten pound Blue Lobster around Labor Day. I was snorkeling near Bailey Beach when I spotted the monster. Dan rowed out and handed me a net which I used to catch the crustacean. We later let it go since it was a female carrying a multitude of eggs.
Speaking of beaches, that is a sad commentary of the changes on the Alliquippa shoreline. Remember how we used to swim and sunbath on the beach that extended down to those rocks where we kept the canoe (and in later years, the B.A.T., above the tide? The sand has washed away, primarily over to where the mussel bed used to be on the east side of Goose Rock. There is only about a third of the sandy area left, leaving rocks exposed to climb over. There is still a narrow channel leading up to the harbor, but few sailboats venture up unless it is high tide. Lobstermen know better and maneuver carefully in returning to their ports.
As some of you know, I have been leading nature walks on Hermit Island (once known as Morse's Neck) for the last 15 years. It is like a second home to me. I do a lot of snorkeling with the campers, and continue to find a wide array of sea critters including things like an occasional octopus! I find all kinds of Sea Stars, crabs sometimes mating or molting, and lobsters no bigger than an inch in size. We never used to find many marine mammals other than seals, but now, whales have washed up on our shores, and even dolphins and porpoises! See what you are missing!
The tides still come and go...actually I live by the tide charts, knowing that when the moon is new or full, I can find more critters without snorkeling (which helps in winter!). The fog also is a problem when you are trying to take in the scenery, but actually most things are recognizable...the rocks stay put. That canyon in front of the Alliquippa is still there. How I remember worrying that someone would fall into it while playing Capture the Flag in the dark! I too remember those nighttime games, including Snipe Hunts, Relieve-O and Sardines!
Those were the days, with the guys sleeping in the "servant's quarters" (i.e., Front Quarters, Pig Alley, Back Quarters) with walls plastered with Varga Girls (they had their clothes on in those days...the girls, that is). Life in the dorm was always fun, though no one ever told me back in those days that I snored.
We still have the sailboat races, in fact we have property in West Point (where they used to go buy lobsters!) that gives a view of the activity. We look over at the Alliquippa which still conjures up in me the memories of those golden days. The Kamphausens are full time Mainers now.
Look me up if you are in the area, now known as Phippsburg. Camping at Hermit Island is just wonderful with campsites sitting right on the shoreline, and trails down to Sanddollar Beach to view our old Alliquippa. Sebasco is still in business, and we actually have rooms available if you can stand somewhat primitive living.
More and more of my family are moving to Maine for year around living in this beautiful part of the world. Join us!
Ronnie Peacock Kamphausen, written as the snow is falling and blowing. Maine is beautiful in all seasons. There are no mosquitoes in winter, fall and spring! 12/9/09
Front row, left to right: Mary Varian, Ronnie Kamphausen, Dan Peacock, Gretchen Vogel, Bobby Vogel, Joe Hagel, and unidentified woman. Middle row: Fred Weiss, Mott, June Peacock, Dot Graham, Ned Vogel, and unidentified woman. Back row: unidentified man and Vera Vogel.
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