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Camp Kawanhee
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They Brought the Hermit Back!!

Kawanhee Campers Invade Monhegan

Tuesday morning, July 25, 1967, fifteen campers, three counselors and Bates silently slipped out of Camp Kawanhee, bound for an exhilarating three-day excursion of Monhegan Island and her sister island, Manana. Bates' Bouncing Buggy faithfully carried us through Augusta where we viewed Maine's beautiful capitol building, and then on to Boothbay Harbor, where we arrived at 9:40 a.m., almost on schedule. The wonderful Balmy Days left Boothbay Harbor, the rain, and the fog of the coast to sail against the rollers of the Atlantic Ocean. Although several of our "sailors" were a bit uncomfortable on the ocean, all sighed relief when the islands were descried through the heavy fog.

The people of Monhegan gave us a very warm welcome, and several of the island women were chanting, "The Camp is here, Hurrah!" We disembarked with our baggage and surveyed the wondrous world of the main wharf of a fishing-iobstering town. Many of the boys were soon looking over the brightly-painted lobster buoys for those special ones that they wanted as their chief souvenirs. We picked up our box lunches and found our way through the town of Monhegan to Lobster Cove, where we discovered the wrecks of the sea-going tug D. T. Sheridan (1948) and the yawl Cresta (1957). We ate lunch, explored the wrecks, and watched the tide smash the breakers against the eternal rocks of the shore. We returned to the village, wandered through the shops, set several drop-lines to work off the wharf, and then after a pleasant afternoon, we ate supper at the Trailing Yew. Many of us sampled some of the 96 1/2 pound halibut that we saw being cleaned at the fish house. There is nothing like a fresh-caught halibut! After supper, we ascended Lighthouse Hill, the highest point on the island. The weather had cleared during the day, and the fog had lifted. The old baseball field behind the Lighthouse had dried sufficiently and we set up camp. We returned to fish with the drop-lines at the wharf for a while, and then we retired up the hill with the beaming Lighthouse showing us the way. Wednesday morning broke early with the sun reflecting off the top of the Lighthouse and Bates beckoning us to get ready for breakfast. The long hike in the morning sun to the Trailing Yew heightened our appetites, and everyone appreciated the good cereal, toast, scrambled eggs and bacon.

After a couple of hours at the wharf, the Kawanhee braves invaded Manana island to visit Mr. Ray Phillips-the Hermit. The famous Hermit of Manana has called the small, steep, rocky island home since 1931, and many boys from Kawanhee have been privileged to talk to this unusually friendly man and to tour his unique home. To show our appreciation for the Hermit's kindness in inviting us into his parlor, we each gave him a small present. Furthermore, when we heard that he was trying to find a ride to Skowhegan to attend the wedding of a favorite cousin, we decided to invite Mr. Phillips to accompany us back to camp, and Chuck Hoffhine offered to drive him from camp to Skowhegan. For many, many years, Ray Phillips has entertained our Monhegan trips; visiting him has become a high point; and we are proud to be called "the Hermit's boys" during our stay at Monhegan.

For lunch, we traversed Monhegan to the tall, eastern cliffs of White Head. Here we relaxed with sandwiches and cookies and watched the breakers forming 200 feet below us. After devouring a wonderful watermelon, the first group of 10 boys left the cliffs and returned to the wharf. There we met Captain Sherm Stanley of the Argonaut who was to take us deep-sea fishing. The first group of fishermen was not blessed with a great quantity of fish; however, Brad Coley managed to land a nice 30-pound cod. The second group managed to catch a great number of cod, and Bates, himself, brought aboard the largest fish, a 40-pound cod! After fishing, several boys went swimming in the salty brine, but Carlos and Milton Zapata found that the water was slightly cooler than that which surrounds Puerto Rico. Needless to say, the cold North Atlantic created a short "free" swim period. After more drop-line fishing from the wharf, we ate supper at the Trailing Yew. Some of us ate the fresh-caught cod and enjoyed it thoroughly.

After supper, we returned to our campsite behind the Lighthouse and then hiked out to the cliffs at Black Head. As dusk was coming on, we returned to the village for refreshments; then we climbed to the Lighthouse to behold a magnificent red sunset across the ocean with the village at our feet and rocky Manana across the cut. It was a glorious ending to a most enriching day!

Thursday morning brought a sense of sadness to many as we realized that we would soon have to leave. However, it was still a day to remember. After breakfast, Mr. John Cabot III invited us into his home to show us some of the family heirlooms. Mr. Cabot's great grandfather built the house in 1899. We saw a 200 year old telescope, several early tools and implements, and an ancient lantern.

After visiting with Mr. Cabot, we returned for a final period of drop-line fishing at the wharf. We soon ascended to our camp behind the Lighthouse and packed our equipment. We returned to the wharf and greeted the Balmy Days filled with the members of the second trip from Kawanhee. With both trips united, we formed a long string of boys and headed out for lunch at the Lobster Cove. We found it amazingly difficult to remove ourselves from the magnetic inspiration of the place; but after an hour or so, we found ourselves riding the Balmy Days on her excursion around the island. After a brief stop at the wharf, where the hermit joined us, we bade farewell to Bates, the boys of the second trip, and Monhegan Island, and the Balmy Days headed across the salt water toward Boothbay Harbor.

The day was perfectly clear, and there existed such a breeze for sailing that many yawls, ketches, sloops, and schooners were plying the waves. It was a stirring sight that made all of us feel like sailors at heart. The crossing was so smooth that no one became uncomfortable, and soon we found ourselves in Boothbay Harbor, where the Bouncing Buggy was waiting to return us to Camp. We arrived at Camp at 8:30 p.m., tanned and windblown from our ocean voyages but happy and grateful for our wonderful experiences on Monhegan Island. The pioneers of the first trip were: Jack Abbott, Chip Burgess, Brad Coley, Ken Chapman, Preston Crabill, Jack Doege, Paul Doege, Phil Drake, Herb Erf, Bruce Ferguson, Peter Haines, Stoney Hinds, Raub Smith, Carlos Zapata, and Milton Zapata. The counselors assisting Bates were Chuck Hoffhine, Tom Taylor and Steve Fink.