Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Risk VS.Reward Equation

As most know, I have made the decision to discontinue my sailing adventure and head back to the west coast.  This is a very sad decision for me and one I did not make lightly.  I honestly wanted to complete the trip.  I do not like to quit after making a commitment.  However, I made a promise to nearly all of you that I would put my personal safety at the very top of my priority list.  Unfortunately, the point came where I was no longer confident that my personal safety was ensured, so I decided to keep my promise and end the trip.

I have lots more photos than I've posted,and lots more memories too.  I still need to blog about the trip down the East River in NYC, but that'll keep for a few more days.  In keeping with the title of this post, I have something else on my mind.

Most people thought I was pretty nuts for picking up everything and heading off on an adventure of such epic proportions.  Certainly it felt like that to me as well, however, I felt the rewards were sufficient enough to warrant the risk..  I still feel like that.  I spent about 4 days in Salem... would I have ever seen it otherwise?  Unlikely.  I sailed the Cape Cod canal.  Would that have ever been something I'd do otherwise?  I cannot imagine it would.  I saw small towns and met people in New England that gave me better insight to the region.  In three short weeks I did more than any landlubber would ever be able to accomplish.  The risk was truly worth the reward.  My only regret is that it has to end too soon.  I wanted to do the next part of the trip in a bad way.

It's official.  I'm hooked on sailing.  I'm going to learn how to sail properly, and I'm going to look for ways to complete the journey I started.  I encourage each of you to do the same.  You will never look at life the same again.  It's not an easy life, it takes many sacrifices.  But it's so worth it.  Honest.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Our Missing Days

I apologize for having worried all of you.  I knew you would be worried, and there was nothing I could do. No cell service and no way to get to service.

Last Wednesday (the 15th), we limped into Atlantic Highlands, NJ very late at night (2 am or so... common for sailors... you go with the wind and conditions, sleep is for when they're not favorable)  The next day winds were predicted to increase and be from the wrong direction, so we elected to pull up the anchor and move into the harbor where it's more protected.  We filled up on gas, did some grocery shopping, set a couple of anchors, did anchor watch all night, everything went well.  Around 1:30 Friday afternoon, things were looking lovely.  Couldn't really sail, but certainly could motor out around Sandy Hook.  So we left the harbor and headed out.  About 15 minutes out, the engine overheated.

Jamie raised a sail, but without wind, you just don't get very far.  I sat in the cockpit and goofed off on the Internet (on my phone) while he tried to cheer up the ailing engine.  Suddenly the wind came up and he was yelling at me to steer, dammit!  LOL... and so I did.  We sailed throughout the afternoon and evening, into the wee hours of Saturday morning.  And then the winds started.  And the seas got higher.  And the winds got higher.  And the seas got higher.  By Saturday around 10 AM, we weren't exactly controlling the boat.  Keep in mind that we still had no engine, and no engine means no recharging the batteries.  We were also past the southern tip of the Jersey shore, passing the mouth of the Delaware bay, so no cell service.

For two days, the winds blew and the seas roared.  Early on, I tried to lay in a bunk.  I let go of the side for 10 seconds and was immediately swept to the floor (hitting my head in the process, of course).  Spend the next two days sleeping upright, sick as a dog.  Didn't have the energy to use the head, not that standing was possible.  You can probably start to envision the lack of fun here.

Once it stopped storming (we had "hove to" which essentially means you let out a few inches of sail and lock the rudder in the opposite direction so that you kind of zig zag through the ocean), we found that we had been blown about 25 miles further east (out into the Atlantic).  So that took another day and a half of sailing (still no engine) to get back close to the coast, and then another day and a half before we could get to the mouth of the Chesapeake  Bay... the winds, of course, were not cooperative.

So there's that part.  Again, I'm sorry I worried you all.  You were on my mind constantly (as constantly as possible) and I got in touch at the absolutely earliest opportunity.


What can I say about this little guy?

I am not a fan of small dogs. Very often the size of the body is directly related to the size of the brain. This guy was proof that I was wrong. Smart little dude. Loving to the point of distraction. He was a Jack Russell, so a ball of energy. His most annoying (?!) trait was that he'd lick you when he was nervous. I mean, how annoying can that be? LOL

He would look at you and cock his head to one side or another if you talked to him. The amount of sounds he could vocalize were close to a cat's range...lots more than any dog I've been around before.

Yesterday, as we were approaching Chesapeake Bay, we started having dolphins around the boat. Wow, was this the coolest thing Murphy had ever seen in his life. He was up one side and down the other. Standing on the sides, back onto the bumpers in the stern. Up and down and back and forth and whining. He was leashed (in his harness) to one of the stanchions... we hadn't put him in his life jacket, mainly because we weren't letting him go up to the bow by himself anymore, since we'd had a rough time at sea for a week (more on that later). I spent about a half hour with him, trying to get him to calm a bit, convincing him that he couldn't go swim with the dolphins. I thought I'd settled him down some, so I stepped away, came down below to change clothes. The next thing I hear is Jamie yelling "Murphy's gone, Murphy's gone!" I had to ask him to repeat it, since I just couldn't believe what I was hearing. Sure enough though... he was gone. His leash and harness were in the water, no Murphy to be found. We searched for an hour. A 15 pound dog in three foot seas really didn't stand a chance, but we had to try. It was quite simply awful. I've only been here three weeks, but that's been enough for me to fall completely in love with him. He's left a huge hole in my heart, he really has.

The dolphins escorted us all the way to our final turn. It really was as if they knew we'd lost him and they were here to comfort us. To see the eyes of a dolphin as it leaps and swims through the water is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen in my life. I am truly blessed to have had the opportunity, but immensely sad that it came at the expense of a life that I'd grown to love.

RIP Murphy, my friend. You were indeed one of a kind.

Time for catch up

Apologies for no posts... long story, I will endeavor to tell it through the next series of posts, which will most likely take me several days. Thanks to all that have inquired about my well being... I assure you that at the current time (9/22/11, 8:03 PM EDT), I am alive and kicking. I will leave it to you to ascertain whether that phrase should be "alive and well". :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

I am not a witch!

Salem is really very awesome.  I would love to be able to stay for a while longer and tour all the museums and historical sites.  It gets a bit chilly at night,  (I need to remember to put a blanket on my bunk, and today it's a bit chilly in the shade (it's breezy).  Fortunately, these things happen in order to remind me that I am not cut out to live in the arctic north. ;)

I'm working on my accent.  I know that people drive cahs.  There are lots of cahs around heeyeah.  Some of the accents are just thick!

I have some pics - more on my Facebook page,but less commentary. ;)

 I thought it was so cool how close to the original this pic is.  I will see if I can go back and get a better pic of the original (pic) - Murphy the wonder dog was tugging pretty hard, I was trying to snap before my arm jerked, LOL
Speaking of Murphy..
I knew about the witches, didn't know about the pirates!
Witchcraft is, of course, a huge tourist attraction.  However, it appears that people who truly believe in witchcraft have settled here.  Along the same lines, I have seen several lesbian couples - I wonder if it's the witchcraft thing or if the city's culture naturally allows people to be more accepting of people that are different.  Haven't really seen very many African-Americans or Asian people, so perhaps the acceptance thing is just wishful thinking on my part.