A Mystic Experience

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Rick’s brother, Gary, and his wife, Meg, offered to take us on a day trip to the Mystic Seaport.   We thought that we were heading to the coast, taking a few pictures, wading in the seashore, and heading home.  We were soon to find out that the Mystic Seaport is also known as “The Museum of America and the Sea”.

On the way to our ultimate destination, we stopped at The Rock Garden, a rock store that did a big business and provided educational programs for youths.  The place is easy to spot  with this commercial dinosaur in the parking lot.


An interesting exhibit was a darkened room with a display of luminous rocks.


They had all kinds of prehistoric specimens.


Specimens included some ancient geodes and other nice specimens.


Then off we headed to the Mystic Seaport. The museum covers several acres that included complete neighborhoods of early sea life, including churches and shops.  There were a number of ships that have been restored and can be boarded for viewing.


Several actual buildings used for the clam, crab, fishing and lobster industries have been preserved.  Several of them have actual working displays of barrel making, shipsmithing (like a black smith shop), printing, etc.


Several buildings displayed numerous nautical items.  One of my favorites was the lamp shop.


Mystic sports its own shipyard for the rebuilding of antique ships.


Ironically, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike have provided the ship rebuilders with a nearly unlimited supply of wood from live oak trees.  This is a favorite wood in ship building and some trees, as old as 600 years, have found their way to Mystic.  This 6-foot diameter log is an example.


The Mystic Shipyard is in the early stages of a gigantic undertaking.  They are rebuilding the last of the old wooden whaling ships, the Charles W. Morgan.


The Morgan is 105 feet long and was built in a period of nine months in 1841.  This restoration will take at least three years.  For a long period of time at the beginning of this restoration efforts are underway to remove the 9 or 10 inch arch in the keel that has appeared over the years from various repairs.  Jacks at both ends of the keel are forcing the ends up and gravity is pulling down the center.  Caulking is removed from various side planks to allow the ship to squeeze the planks together as it regains its shape.

A large hole has been cut in the hull under the water line to allow the rebuilders to pass new boards, up to 40 feet long, into the ship.


Visitors can climb up into the ship to observe the progress.


From the stairs heading to the deck, you can see how the ship dwarfs everything around it.


We spent about six hours at the seaport and didn’t see everything.  On the way out, you couldn’t help but notice this old, partly wooden, anchor.  I had never seen one with this type of construction.


We want to thank Meg and Gary for taking the time to show us this coastal gem.

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