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The Summer Sail I’ll Never Forget

Sailing taught me to tune in to my surroundings. That’s why I wanted my daughters to learn, and why, all these years later, a summer night sail with my elder, Emma, is so vivid in my memory it’s as if it happened yesterday rather than fifteen years ago.

That night a soft wind came from the south up the bay. It was the dark of the moon, so fantastically black and balmy, I had no difficulty coaxing Emma out on the water. I vividly remember the brightness of the stars that night, the Milky Way arching across the sky, the inky outline of islands in Casco Bay. But most of all I remember the silence we settled into. There was no need to talk. I was the skipper; she was the crew. We were heading to the Goslings Islands—our favorite place (now a Maine Coast Heritage Trust preserve).

“We heard a curious sound begin to grow. First the rippling of the outgoing tide over rocks just below the water’s surface. Then a noise I hadn’t heard before, a kind of chuckling that built in the blackness all around us.”

On our way back home, ghosting across the smooth surface of the water, we heard a curious sound begin to grow. First the rippling of the outgoing tide over rocks just below the water’s surface. Then a noise I hadn’t heard before, a kind of chuckling that built in the blackness all around us. Too dark to see clearly, it took me several seconds to realize we were surrounded by seals. We sailed on, mesmerized, until the noise faded back to silence.

Emma and I didn’t have to talk to know what the other was feeling that night. We were tuned to the same frequency. It was one of countless experiences in the natural world that bonded my daughters and me in ways nothing else can. Land conservation is about more than protecting land. It’s about creating a future in which fathers and daughters can have experiences like this, on a Maine coast that is open for everyone to explore, where the stars are still visible and life thrives.

“Emma and I didn’t have to talk to know what the other was feeling that night. We were tuned to the same frequency.”

Throughout my life, the Maine coast has reminded me, again and again, of what’s important. I imagine it’s done the same for you. This summer I hope you get to experience the Maine coast with the people you love most. The places—and experiences—we protect are always here for you, waiting.

Thank you for being a part of this work. Tim Glidden