We're now at Monhegan, an isolated island 2km x 1km
several miles out into the Atlantic with about 60 residents, and no roads. There
are 12 miles of trails. The island has a long history. 10 000 years ago early
Indians were catching swordfish here in the summer using amazingly sophisticated
(stone age) gear, but the climate changed and the fish moved south. Other Indian
groups came and went but never settled. The island got its present name from
Giovanni da Verrazano who passed here in 1524 - along way north considering the
it was only 30 years after Columbus 'discovered' the New World. Interestingly
Verrazano records that the Indians (still of course in the stone
age) were keen to trade for metal
implements, of which they were already aware - proof that there had been
previous European contact, and circumstantial evidence to support the claim that
English cod fishermen out of Bristol had got here before Columbus arrived in the
Caribbean. We know that Leif Ericson and Barni Heriulfson did reach
Newfoundland from Iceland around 1100 from the Sagas, and the
discovery of their short-lived settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows - and
intriguingly there are carvings on the rocks here at Monhegan which look very
like the Norse runes found in Europe, but no-one has yet proven their origin.
Anyway, enough of that.
Here is Vulcan Spirit at anchor in the Harbor, calm
at present but wide open to the south west. The fishing boats are moored to
granite blocks half the size of a house because 120mph winds are not unknown
Everything comes and goes by small boat. Here is
the supply vessel unloading at the quay.
Most of the island is a nature reserve, and very
beautiful. And, joy of joys, on the west coast there are real cliffs - about the
only ones in Maine. Only 50m high, but real sea cliffs nonetheless.
And it seems that Dr Who has penetrated even
The whole island is a delightful gem. The museum
alone would repay an entire day. Unfortunately we have to move on south and west
- Newport and boat maintenance beckon.