The World’s Second Largest Whirlpool
On America’s Eastern Frontier
Blue Sapphire Necklace
I went to Eastport, Maine to see the sea glass lady. We explored her beaches, climbed clay cliffs, and scooped sea glass from her beaches – including Civil War-era purple sea glass. I wined and dined her, lunch and dinner. For 3 days we explored her land at America’s Eastern frontier and then we charted a trawler and captain to go three miles off the coast of Eastport Harbor to see the world’s second largest whirlpool. I will admit I was a kid pacing the deck looking left, looking right to see the water churning and swirling. In everything I read I believed it was just one huge vortex, ready to swallow boats whole. What I discovered was far more interesting – on certain incoming tides a whirlpool starts and is swept up the bay and immediately others start swirling. Dozens, hundreds of little ones morphing into bigger ones – some curling right, sometimes churning left. As they form, they move with the tides and are swept up-channel, little ones joining forces, small swirls becoming big swirls and every few minutes all these swirls combining forces, combining energy 25 feet across, 40 feet, 60 feet, a serious slosh and spin. If a 32-foot sailboat with a keel attempted to sail through, it could get caught and would spin. The keel would catch, and the boat could flip. The nautical charts are marked CAUTION, DANGER. Boats and sailors have been caught and lost – not a trace or anything found. The trawler was big and it had a flat bottom. It glided across. I filmed, took single shots and like a kid, ran side to side to see it all. There were grey skies and eagles flying above. The Eastern frontier was majestic.
Why cover all of this? These three alternating gem swirls are the whirlpools on American’s Eastern frontier. Note I said “whirlpools” because there are hundreds of them every minute – you heard it first here.
The Whirlpool pendant has three round blue sapphires, three slightly different sizes, surrounded with swirls of gold waiting to combine. If you go to Eastport, you might be able to catch the whirlpool on a whale watch trip. Your timing has to be perfect though, to be able to catch the whirl pool in action.
About the Trade Wind Collection:
Where does inspiration come from? Where do the creative sparks for design begin? For Cross’ new Trade Wind Jewelry Collection, we find ourselves drawn into the story of Captain John Henry Drew, from Gardiner, Maine. Born in 1834, he grew up the son of a Ship’s Carver, and went to sea at the age of 15, eventually becoming Captain of a series of clipper ships, and traveling from New York to China and back home, when that voyage took more than seventeen months.
Instead of carving or knotting or other hobbies that were characteristic of sailors, this mostly self-educated man read books, memorized details from newspapers, and wrote about his journey—his literal and his inner journey. His hand-written and personally illustrated journals tell us of his longing for Maine, for his family, and for “making something of himself”. He is very much like you and me, and it makes his story that much more compelling. He savors apples from home, as tasting better than apples from anywhere else. He imagines the scene he might see looking in the window at home, where his family sits, and he chastises himself for not getting more done at home when he was there.
The jewelry in our Trade Wind Collection is made by his great-great-great grandson, Keith. This young man went to sea as well, at age 18. As part of his service to the US Navy, his travels took him to many of the same places his great-great-great grandfather’s clipper ships visited. Keith also had a hobby unconventional for sailors— he had a fascination for gems and he studied gemology. He studied so that when his service was completed, he could become a jeweler. As Keith traveled the world, he collected exquisite gems, and after leaving the service and returning home, he mastered the art of fine jewelry making.
It is now decades later. We met Keith for the first time in March, 2014. We were impressed with his jewelry, and as we talked further, discovered he had a clipper ship sea captain ancestor and became intrigued with the parallels of his journey in life with that of his sea captain forebear.
The parallels in the two stories are expressed in the jewelry itself—the exotic colors, the flow of the designs, the attention to detail which is something passed down in this family—whether it is to protect the ship, its cargo and its crew, or to create a design that will last and protect its valuable gems, giving the wearer the same pleasure we experience when a ship at full sail goes by. You can’t help but stop and exclaim, “Isn’t that beautiful?”
We were hooked by this story, and by the jewelry. We think you will be too. In fact, we’re posting pages from Captain Drew’s journals from the Voyage of the Franklin in 1868. Take a few minutes to join in the journey, and think of those you love most, and rejoice if they are right there with you.
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Orders Under $1,000 – Ship Free FedEx to arrive within 4 business days. Upgrade to overnight for $20.
Orders Over $1,000 – Ship Free FedEx Overnight or US Post Office Express. A signature is required on delivery.
Any purchases you make on or after February 20th, through March, April, May and June 2021, we are extending our Cross return or exchange date to the 4th of July, 2021 or 30 days beyond your purchase date, whichever gives you more time.