Friday, September 25, 2009

A view of Alizee's trip to the Chesapeake ...

Even though I haven't had time to get the story of our trip up to the Chesapeake put together, Penelope has jotted down her perspective on it all.  So she and I thought we'd share it with you:

"We made it to Norfolk yesterday and Pat, who made the trip with us, flew out today. I miss her already.  What a trip this has been so far. We spent 52 horrendous hours offshore, getting beat around and slammed all over the place by bad seas… very, very unruly seas, much like the crew at times, like when we were hove to, reefing sails in the dark, as we watched  a monster ship steaming right at us!  [Yes, but it was a couple of miles away.]  Despite a couple of squalls, there was very little real danger from the weather.  The real danger of serious injury was from the being thrown around so much especially below decks. That old rule of "one hand for yourself and one hand for the boat" is a crock of you-know-what. You need at least three hands in those conditions...two hands for the boat and a third hand to tend to yourself, like trying to get your pants down to use the head! I can't tell you how bruised and battered I was. We all were.  In fact, one of us rammed a head locker door so hard it stove it in! James said he had never been in such miserable seas.  Speaking of miserable seas, Pat and James were pretty green at the gills several times due to the unrelenting reeling and roiling.   In retrospect, I say the whole ordeal was a lot like giving birth-in the midst of it, you hate the son-of-a-bitch who got you in that condition but as soon as it’s over and you’re at a peaceful anchorage watching a beautiful sunset,  the pain begins to fade.  But please, if you ever hear me say I'm going to go offshore again for more than an afternoon sail, please do me a favor and have someone come put me away!  Or better yet, have them lock James away! 

"Because of conditions the captain says he didn’t anticipate, the trip  to Norfolk that he had hoped would be 3 days of offshore sailing  and a couple of days up the Intracoastal has ended up being 2+ days of an offshore nightmare and 12 days of motoring up the IntracoastaI which we caught at Port Royal, South Carolina.  I doubt I’ll ever let him live down that miscalculation! And remind me sometime to tell you about another thing I'll never let him hear the end of. It has to do with orders to "Get on the boat!"  and "Get off the boat!" that only a trained professional or a crazy first mate might actually obey.  Despite all of this, sailing still has its rewards even if there are times I want to mutiny or  jump ship!  Of course, I knew I wouldn't like this part of the trip, whether on or offshore or not (I hate the Intracoastal except when we’re just coming into it from offshore. Then I want to kiss the land it’s been cut through!) Right now I’m remembering that we’ll be cruising the Chesapeake next which like the child that makes you forget the labor will fool me into thinking that sailing is worth all the trials and tribulations.

"Now I want to know what's going on in your neck of the woods? What's it like to take hot showers in privacy whenever you’re dirty and sweaty, flush paper down the toilet and not have to carry to the effluent with you as you go, do grocery shopping and not have to decide which you’d rather have-wine or bread with no thought to which weighs the most.   And do remind me what it's like doing laundry without having to dump your skivvies into the same tub that a few minutes ago was having a go at some stranger’s dirty ones? Somebody please tell me what it’s like ashore."

So there you have it.  An unbiased report from the first mate on Alizee.  As you can tell from the photos, it wasn't all bad.  Oh, and by the way, you can find more photos on Flickr.


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