Southport Column: A captain graduates, family history and more

Posted:  Wednesday, September 12, 2018 - 12:00pm

At first I wrote this column focusing on whale sightings, which have resulted in a number of exciting experiences and great pictures.

Then, of course, I could write about Thursday’s storm, which did cause some power outages on Southport, but fortunately not the physical damage suffered elsewhere in the region.

But people, their accomplishments and their histories, are perhaps more important. For example, one of our local young men has chosen to follow family tradition and represent the eighth generation of his family to go to sea to earn his living.

Captain Sherman Brewer graduated with honors on Saturday, Sept. 8, from Northeast Maritime Institute (NMI) with an Associate in Applied Science in Nautical Science Degree. Northeast Maritime Institute is the first private, two-year Maritime college in the United States.

Last January Sherm, as we all know him, made the Captain Norman W. Lemley List of Academic Achievement all four semesters and was recognized for outstanding academic achievement during the graduation ceremony. He has earned the following United States Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Credentials - Master of 100 Gross Ton Near Coastal Vessels, Mate of 200 Gross Ton Near Coastal Vessels, Able Seaman Limited, and multiple endorsements. His proud family was in attendance for the graduation ceremony, which was held at the Fairhaven Town Hall, in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.

Brewer's design of a ship's wheel and trident was chosen to represent Chort 3, the third class to graduate from the school, as the class burgee, which every graduating student was presented, as well as a NMI blue blazer with embroidered school crest. The intensive Nautical Science program required the successful completion of 84 credits and two 90-day internships. Brewer sailed with Captain Michael Vogelsgesang aboard the S/V Eye of the Wind out of Kiel, Germany, visiting seven European countries his first year, and with Captain Kip Files aboard the S/V Victory Chimes out of Rockland, sailing the Maine coast his second year. Thanks to Sarah, the Captain’s mother, for this information.

From Newagen comes this family history. In August Toni and Pic Halstead, daughter and son inlaw of the late Priscilla and Dyer Talley, celebrated the 100th year anniversary of their cottage on Bayberry Lane. They were joined by their two daughters, Lesley and Haley, their sons-in-law, and three grandsons who are the sixth generation in the cottage!

In 1909 Toni’s great-grandparents spent their first summer in a cottage on Town Landing Road overlooking the Arc, falling in love with Maine. Gertrude Stewart, Priscilla’s mother, her parents, and brothers returned each summer and eventually bought land on Bayberry Lane where they built a small cottage in 1918. Gertrude and her husband, Arthur, retired to the cottage in 1952 and in 1985 Priscilla and Dyer chose Bayberry Lane also for their retirement.

Each generation has made changes to the cottage, adding plumbing and electricity in the 1920s, expanding the downstairs and raising the roof, adding heat in the 1940s for year-round living, and minor updates along the way. Toni and Ric just completed a total renovation inside, making sure the charm and vision seen by her great-grandparents remained for the future generations to enjoy!

From the Coast Guard comes this bit of useful information for boat owners. Expired boat flares can be taken to the dump and left in the special disposal area. The Coast Guard also left at the Island Store some paddle tip reflectors for kayak owners to put on their paddles to create a glint from the sunshine thereby making the kayak more visible.

From Newagen Inn comes the news that they are debuting a new fall dinner menu next week, and that they will be open every night (except Saturday) until Oct. 12. Entertainment next week is local favorite Rusty Court telling tales around the firepit on Wednesday, Sept. 12, Paul D’Alessio in the Pub 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 13, and Chip Schwehm in the Pub 7-9 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16.

The Havinga family gathered with a few friends last Saturday morning to honor the lives of dad, Jan Havinga, and daughter, Cathy Havinga. With poetry and some familiar liturgy, those present sprinkled ashes among newly planted rhododendron. Though always a time for tears, the mossy Maine woods with the river glimpsed between the trees will continue to give a sense of the ebb and flow of life along with renewal.

Kit and I are traveling west for a few weeks, so please send news to Maria Doelp at or put a written note in the envelope just inside the door at the Island Store. Thanks.