Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Arcadia National Park and Beyond

View on the way to Arcadia National Park
 Stopped at Bass Harbor lighthouse.   I actually walked down all those stairs and back.....The steps take you down to the granite boulders that give you a great view of the lighthouse from the harbor side.
 The view was worth the walk down.

 The lighthouse is now the private residence of a local Coast Guard member and his family.  The lighthouse and most of the grounds is not accessible since they are private.  The lighthouse started in 1855.
 Finally made it to Arcadia National Park and drove up to Cadillac Mountain which is located on Mount Desert Island.  The elevation is 1528 feet, its summit is the highest within 25 miles of the North American continent Cape Breton Highlands Nova Scotia and the Mexican peaks south of the Texas  border.

 Map of the Arcadia mountains.
View going down Cadillac Mountain.

Today I took the Lulu Lobster boat to see how lobsters were caught and other information.

  Captain John talked to us about the life of lobster fishing.   Buoys are foam and painted  bright  colors that are registered for each lobsterman.

Look closely and you can see the colors of this lobstermens buoy on the mast.  

In this way the lobstermen will know which marks his lobster traps.  Each buoy is tied to a long line that is attached to the trap.

Captain John   They call it 'fishing' because you do not always have a lobster in your trap so you have to keep pulling them up.  He talked about the parts of the lobster trap and that the bait used is Herring.    Years ago the traps were wood but they disintegrated quickly and had to be replaced often.  The traps used now are metal with   two openings for the lobster to enter to get the food, when they get the food in what the lobstermen call the 'kitchen' they move to the 'parlor' that they can not get out.   Because the lobster can not get out of the trap, if the line gets cut by a propeller, the trap will go to the bottom of the ocean and  they will die there.  At one time there was more of this than lobsters caught and picked up by the lobstermen .  Now there must be a way for the lobster to get out.   Captain John uses a piece of wood across one of the openings at the top of the cage because there are worms that eat wood just like house termites.   They will eat the wood which takes a couple months and the lobster can get out.  The maximum number of traps a lobsterman can use is  800 per vessel and  the lobster caught  shell can not be longer  than 5 inches with a minimum of 3 1/4 inches so that juveniles have a chance to grow.  All lobster have to be measured in the water and thrown back immediately if needed. There are three lobsters in the cage.  One was too small, and one was too large to keep.  Also, if they catch a female lobster that has eggs  (they carry their eggs outside instead of inside) , the lobstermen have to v-notch and throw them back in.  There are little docks all over the water were the lobstermen can place their catch until they can get back to take them into sell.

We went to see the seals and there was a bald eagle on the cliff.  We were also able to get to Egg Harbor Lighthouse which is not manned before the fog rolled in and it disappeared from sight..  Captain John said that there is only one manned lighthouse in America and that is in Boston.

It was a fun, fun day on the water and now I am looking forward to my Windjammer cruise on Friday.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

American Folk Festival Day 3

I got up early to say goodbye to Rachel.  She was heading to another campground to meet up with a friend.  Before she left, she invited me to caravan with her to Newfoundland since she goes every summer and stays all summer roaming.   I told her that I would think about it and get back to her.

I arrived at the festival a little before noon and headed to the dance pavilion to catch Frank Ferrel & Friends.  The program said New England Contradance and I had no idea what it was.   As it turned out, it is a slower form of square dance.  It turns out that square dancing is a take off of contradance.

Next was Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys.  Rosie sings and writes some of her own material in Creole French.  At this performance she sang in English.  Her songs were lusty, bluesy and full of personality.  I really wanted an album but they were all out.

I stayed in the pavilion to see Juvenato a Colombian Vallenato band.  They really got the tent to jump with their music.  This band is a Chicago based group.  The leader was born in Columbia and wanted to expose others to the music and culture.  The group consists of eight members from 17 to 60.  

The food stands was quite a distance from the dance pavilion and I was starved so I did not stay for the African Samba band that I planned to see.   I plan to come back someday so who knows what I will be introduced to.

American Folk Festival, Day 2

Rachel and I got to the festival at noon and headed straight for the gospel venue at the Railroad Stage to listen to the Legendary Singing Stars since this is where the bus lets you off. This band played at the Apollo in the 1960's and is a mix of gospel music with the precision groove and choreographed moves of a classic R&B group.  The group is based out of Brooklyn, NY.

We left the Railroad Stage to head to the L. L. Bean Penobscot Stage to see 
Elatos a greek band and singer.  In Greek "Elatos" means "firs".  The name refers to the pine trees that grow high on the Greek mountiains.  They have no website and all their performances that are book is by word of mouth.  People started getting up and doing Greek dancing.  It was marvelous.

Next was Qui Shu Fang Peking Opera.  I had been to a Peking Opera when I was in China and told Rachel that I would stay until they started singing.

We left before the next performance and had to get something to eat before rushing to the Two Rivers Stage to see the Scissor Dance, mainly because we had no idea what it was.

The food at the festival had hamburgers and french fries but just a couple of booths; the food in abundance was not fair food.

While Rachel and I were trying to decide what to get, this lady came up to me to tell me she loved my dreads.   I really liked hers.
Maybe mine will look like this one day.

I also saw:

Musicians playing all over the place that were not officially apart of the festival.

You have to applaud the ingenuity of this young man.

The dog wears sunglasses and the guy was handing out business cards for his business, Canine Shades.

Food eaten and off to the Two Rivers Stage. The Chankas performed the Peruvian Scissors Dance.  The dance is a traditional Andean ritual expression through which the dancer is a bridge between a community of people and the Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) and her sacred mountains.  The actual dance with scissors and give a complete new meaning to the term  "Running with Scissors."

Next stop was the Maine exhibit of Maine crafts.   The canoe was absolutely beautiful.

This is the percussion sections of several of the groups.   Each group explained their instruments and then they had a jam sessions.   I thought it was wonderful that these people from different countries could join in this way.

Made this an early day. Lots of good music but I am tired.  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

American Folklife Festival, Bangor, Maine

When I came back from grocery shopping, I went in to the office to find out about washing Miss Kitty and was immediately told that a woman named Rachel was in the site across from me and  I just had to meet her because we were so much alike.   Later that day Rachel came over to introduce her self and to tell me about the Folk Festival which is in its 12th year in Bangor.  I explained that the Festival was the reason I had stayed in the area.  She does not tow a car and would have to take her RV that is the same size as mine to the festival each day.  I agreed to drive my car, RT, and she would pay for the parking.  Also, she knew the way.

We talked for awhile and I found that she was a fun lady and that she spends 5 months in Newfoundland, Canada and then comes for the Folk Festival before going to her home in Michigan for the winter.

When we arrived at the festival, she paid for me to park for the entire 3 days of the festival even though she couldn't go on Sunday.  There are four music stages, the Marketplace area, the food court, the Children's Village, and the FolkLife area.  There is no admission but the volunteers  do go around with buckets asking for donations to pay for the $900,000 event.  When we first arrived we walked around getting the lay of the land.  I found many artist that were not  billed on the program, playing on every corner before the event started.  We decided that we would just sit at one stage rather than move around because the two acts we wanted to see were at the Railroad Stage and the big day would be on Saturday were we would have to move around to see the various acts that overlap.

Today the events started at 6:45pm with a Puerto Rican Parade Band lead by Jorge Arce and another group Raiz de Plena.  Half of Arce's family comes from San Anton, mainly a black community known for the African tradition of the bomba music, and the other half comes for the music tradition of Puerto Rico.  In other words, his music is Afro-Caribbean.

  The parade ended at the Railroad Stage were I had my chair setup. It is neat, you just leave your chair all day were you plan to sit later and no one bothers it.

I am not much on bluegrass because it always sounds so sad but having a music appreciation teacher with me (Rachel) made it interesting.  The James King Band were four musicians that play upright bass, fiddle, banjo, mandolin and guitar.

The next act was showed that the music was  Garifuna  and was to be performed by Aurelio Martinez.  Neither one of us had any idea what kind of music that was but wanted to listen. Aurelio may be one of the last generations to grow up steeped in Garifuna tradition.  These traditions encompass the African and Caribbean Indian roots were a group of shipwrecked slaves intermarried with local natives on the island of St. Vincent, only to be deported to the Central American coast in the late 18th century.  Aurelio became the first Honduran of African descent to become a representative to the  National Congress.  The music was electrifying and had people dancing all over the lawn.

The last act at the stage was, it seemed by the most amount of people that showed up, Sister Monica Parker.  She was billed as the Lioness of the Blues.  She was compared to singers like Etta James, Koko Taylor, Ruth Brown and Kate Webster.  All lady blues singers that I love and it turned out so did Rachel. She was born in Gary, IN but now lives in California.   She had the audience dancing.

I had to buy one of her albums and get an autograph.

Well it was quite a night and I am looking forward to today.