Damariscove has a rich and troubled history — from the Indian wars of the 17th century to the hardscrabble lives of its residents in the 19th, from its role helping mariners in distress to the day in 1939when the last family left the settlement forever. Today the island has found peace as a nature preserve.
We anchored in the harbor and followed trails cut through shoulder-high brambles of bayberry, meadowsweet and rose. We rock-hopped granite ledges on the eastern shore and paused to watch cormorants and gulls take flight from the fresh water pond. At Bar Cove Beach, we went swimming, easing ourselves into the icy water that was clear and stunningly bright.
A meadow of lupines ushered us on our walk back to the boat.
Toward the end of our seven days, I went over to Moses' house to invite him to dinner. It was late afternoon, and he was sitting beneath the oak trees at a picnic bench. He had binoculars beside him and was watching a passenger boat pushing its way up the coast.
I had hoped for a tour of his house, but it was a bit of a mess, he confided. So we sat overlooking the cove.
There used to be more trees here, he said, but Hurricane Carol in '54 took them out. He pointed to a pine just off the porch. It was knee-high when he was a child, and as it grew, the family wanted to cut it down — it blocked the view — but his mother loved that tree, and in time it grew tall enough to bother no one.
We sat for a moment, not speaking.
"People sometimes ask me if I ever get tired of the view," he eventually said. "But how could I? It's never the same twice."