Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tornados, Martha, and Notes on Sailing

Ok, so yes, again I have been delinquent. And, yes, again I have lots to tell you! So, a few weeks back, with just a few days to recover after the bike trip, I headed to NY to do some work and see some friends. The work part was great, I got to be involved in some neat projects, and I am always happy to see and collaborate with all my old co-workers. Some highlights were, the Metropolitan Opera, and a wedding at Marthas' (yes, that Martha). Her estate was gorgeous, no surprise there, and the ceremony turned out beautiful. She was happy and very gracious and I am glad to have first hand experience. The Opera was lovely too, you can see pics here at David's blog.

Seeing friends, was also a nice bonus. I am all by my lonesome in GA. (Especially now that my SUPER AWESOME TOTALLY COOL brother is working again. Come visit, we'll make tea.) Anyway, one of my most memorable evenings was one spent with an old college friend. He and I walked around Park Slope, but is wasn't its usual tree lined self, no, quite a few of those babies were down! It was nuts! A tornado in Brooklyn, several apparently. It felt so surreal. Here are a few picks. Luckily, very few people were hurt, and the most damage was done to cars and a few sky lights.
After about 2 solid weeks of working and leeching off my friends generosity, I caught a flight to Halifax, Nova Scotia. My first time in Canada. First impressions: they were very friendly, and had a funny accent.So, Rachel picked me up and we had about a hour drive to the boat. I had been on the Unicorn before, but not when she was in work mode. 13 people aboard (11 women, 2 men) and we started early! Wake up call at 5:30. The Unicorn is usually an all female run boat. She hosts programs for girls called Sisters Under Sail during the summer months (this year in the great lakes). I was with them, as were the men that were allowed on board to get her back to her winter harbor (Bridgeport, CT). Anyway, it was all hands on deck to leave our port in Lunenburg and head south.The first few hours of the morning after breakfast, was navigating out of the harbor, safety drills, and teaching the new girl (me) all the ins and outs. After we broke up into watches, 4 people to a watch and 3 watches. Depending on the time of day you are on or off for 4 or 6 hours and then on again as the rotation comes up. My watch was up first and as I was learning how to check the engine room, lay down a plot, and check the bilges. All of which happens every half hour or hour. Anyway, at this point we are out to sea and it was rockin' and I was feeling it. Yep, totally sea sick for the next 48 hours. But, I managed, I don't think I made a great first impression on some of my crew mates, but even still I learned a lot those first few days! Lowering and raising the sails, hauling, sheeting and more. I was struggling to learn fast and keep up. The roughest part was crossing the Bay of Fundy, the waves were at about 6 feet and when you got up, well, you held on! After Fundy, we were in Maine waters, and that is when the lobster pot hell started. Those suckers are everywhere, doesn't seem to be any rules about it, we were is the channel, and still, there they were, all up in our way, getting stuck in our propeller. Watches became lobster pot spotting teams and it was an exercise in communication to get the word from the bow of a 118' boat to the captain in the wheel house at the stern, especially at night!After about 52 hours we arrived in Camden, Maine and I got to learn what a celebrity the Unicorn is, as well as her female crew. The world of tall ships is a small one and people seem to know each other or of each other and the boats they run. Regular people too seem to flock to her, she is just such a stunning ship and plus she looks all cool and piratey. We ended up staying in Maine longer than expected because foul weather was forecast. But, having never been to Maine, I was glad for the opportunity. Myself and some of the girls hiked to the top of Mt. Battie. I spent a lot of time in coffee shops and the library writing haikus. I was anxious about setting out to sea again so I pretty much asked everybody what medicine worked. Bonine, and it did!We had about 28 hours or so to Boston and I felt like a new woman with my bonine working its magic in my belly. The first 10 hours were lobster pot land-mind hell all over again, and the waves, were huge... or at least they seemed so, but maybe it was just the direction we were headed into them. This time people at the bow were getting sprayed, she was rocking and bouncing so much the waves were coming up over the bow, over the port side... all over! (This is not a big fish story I promise.) Yeah, so on top of that all the hollerin' "green lobster pot, starboard side 1 boat length" and so on. I was trying to sleep in the fo'c'sle. It seems the only thing to do when the boat is moving like that and you are not on watch, you better sleep! Anyway, later that night it had calmed down some, and I had my turn on the bow. I was laughing cause I felt a little like you know THAT scene in titanic, minus the cute boy. But, it wasn't too funny, cause, well, I didn't want to fall.... or neglect my duties as lobster pot caller-outer.Well, we made it to Boston, and onto Bridgeport. AND, yes, after about 2 weeks aboard, I am still a complete beginner. I did, however make some really great new friends, sprout a budding relationship with sailing, and write a sea shanty to celebrate. Thanks, girls, for all you taught me! And thanks, Hannah for the vegan eats!oh, and ps, in Bridgeport we went to this awesome vegetarian restaurant/ feminist book store called Bloodroot. You should go! They have homemade non-dairy ice cream....
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