A Series of Visitors

In which Emily and Morgan set up their workspace, enlist their favorite German as a volunteer, encounter a bat, and build the form for Michi Zeebee

It has been a little over a week since we have arrived at The Apprenticeshop and so much has already happened.

In early July we arrived at The Apprenticeshop, one of the oldest traditional boatbuilding schools in the country. It smelled of fresh cut wood, and everywhere we looked we saw beautifully crafted boats in process or finished. The community was very welcoming, quick to help, and joined by a common love of craftsmanship. Peaking out the window we saw The Apprenticeshop’s sailing classes on the Gulf of Maine waters. If you are in Rockland this coming Saturday stop by the shop for the Red Jacket Regatta, an event that celebrates Sailing, Seamanship, and Boatbuilding.

Once we got settled in we went straight to work setting up our workspace–building sawhorses, a work table, and the form, which essentially determines the shape of the boat. There’s nothing more satisfying than working a solid day with your hands and walking away with something you can see and feel.

In the midst of all of our building a groundhog visited us at our workspace. His arrival seem to set off a series of visits throughout the week. Estella came along the following day, all the way from Germany. She is a perpetual traveler, hitchhiking across the world. She has witnessed an active volcano, explored an abandoned cave, and simultaneously got into trouble and became famous in Somaliland, all the while studying global development and economics. Our visitor moved in with us for a few days in our cozy little room in the attic and was a huge help during the building process.

The Mississippi River has a rich history of visitation. Nomadic cultures lived on it hundreds of years before European explorers first visited its banks, and its name reflects this constant coming and going. The Objibwa tribe called it the ‘Michi Zeebee’, meaning ‘greatest river,’ a name that was adopted by European explorers. Through repetition and misinterpretation it morphed into ‘Mississippi.’ During our first week building, as we reflected on our series of visitors and the changing name of the river, we started calling our boat the Michi Zeebee.

Our final visitor of the week was a winged friend–we eventually called him Clyde. Clyde came to us in the middle of the night. He didn’t seem to mind our screams as he swirled and dive-bombed over our heads. I guess he figured he was invited because we had left the window open with no screen. Bats are funny creatures and we were sad to see him go once he made his way back out into the night sky.

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