Saturday, April 27, 2013

Why did you name your sailboat MicMac?

Most boat names have a story, and ours is no different.

Our first vacation was a camping trip to Nova Scotia forty years ago. Yikes! That was eons ago.

We had never heard of the MicMac tribe of Native Americans before that trip, and MicMac (or Mi'kmaq) was on lots of signs. So on our drive leaving Nova Scotia, when I saw a "MicMac Cultural Center" sign, I exclaimed "Great! Now we can finally learn more about this tribe." In my mind, those words meant "Let's stop here" but that was before I learned that women are from Venus and men are from Mars. And Pete drove on past the sign. Our first argument then began. We never did get to that Cultural Center.

So "Will it be a Micmac?" became Pete's question when I mentioned worthwhile (to me) locations or destinations nearby. It became synonymous with "Will this be something that we could have done easily, but missed the opportunity, and Mary Ann will whine about for a long time?"

Buying a sailboat and cruising hither and yon could easily have been a choice that we didn't make. But we did and thus a reverse MicMac occurred. And a boat was named!

By the way, about 30,000 Micmac Native Americans still live in Nova Scotia and northern Maine.

The Micmac language is an Algonquin one meaning "allies" or "friends." Very suitable for a sailboat on which we have met many new friends.

On November 26, 1991 after complex legal maneuvering and political lobbying, one band of Micmacs finally achieved Federal Recognition, acknowledging its tribal status in the United States. Sadly that has not yet occurred in Virginia, where local Native American tribes like the Mattaponi, Pamunkey, Rappahannock and Chickahominy still seek Federal Recognition.

Back on the "Rivah"

After three long days of sprucing up MicMac, putting her sails back on, stashing our stuff (including two cases of water and a FEW bottles of wine), shocking the water tank and various other boat chores, we got back on the Rappahannock Rivah for an enjoyable day sail.

To those familiar with the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula of Virginia, there is no such word as "river." It will always be a Rivah, whether you are talking about the Rappahannock, Piankatank,York or Potomac. We even call the James OUR Rivah unless it creeps into our backyard during a nasty Nor'easter or hurricane.

Our annual April "shakedown" cruise with fellow Stingray Yacht Club members is an enjoyable tradition, as we reacquaint ourselves with all the boat systems. We burned our socks (also a boater tradition) yesterday and Pastor Snow from Zoar Baptist Church blessed our fleet. His new church is going up quickly, replacing the one destroyed by a tornado just two years ago. I pray that the New Jersey Shore will recover soon too. Mother Nature gets our attention all too frequently now.

Did NOT anchor out last night out because spring temps here have been a bit below average and rain was on the way. Sailing or motoring back down the Rivah in driving rain is fresh in my memory from last year. I am a fair weather sailor and not crazy about facing the elements if we have a choice.