Sunday, August 30, 2015

"What I Did Last Summer"

Remember writing those essays on the first day of school?  On Facebook recently my friend Cathy awarded me "best in class" for what I did last summer, crew on this crazy tall ship adventure.  Yes, you are right, Cathy, and I'm gonna need a longer bucket list, because, how do you top this?

After spending months as tourguides on the ship at the dock, we went sailing!  Saint Augustine, Florida to Portland, Maine and back again, stopping in Philadelphia PA, New York City NY, Portland ME, Portsmouth NH, New London CT, Wilmington NC, and Charleston SC

So, what did I do last summer?  A whole lot of pulling on lines and coiling ropes, and everything is done the old way, by hand, with blocks and pulleys and muscle.  I learned the names of a lot of those lines; the little ones that furl the sails are called brioles in Spanish. (I have no idea what they are called in English.)  Brioles? Sounds like something I'd order in a fancy bakery along with a latte.
El Galeon has six miles of rope rigging. And I have real sailor-girl callouses on my palms.  Some days it felt like I had coiled every one of those six miles of rope!

It's a very physical life.  I spent my share of time doing this:
Teak decks need to be wet with salt water.  The salt holds the moisture and keeps the wood from drying, cracking, and shrinking ... hence preventing leaks.

And, more excitingly, this:
I have many pictures posed at the helm, most in period clothing, taken with great cameras by real photographers.  And those pictures are gorgeous.  This one? Not so gorgeous.  My (21st century) clothing is rumpled and my hair is messy, but this photo is definitely my all-time favorite. Why? Because this one is the real deal.  I'm on the ocean between Philadelphia and New York, and I'm actually steering the ship!

Sailed into big cities, and cute small towns.
I loved the contrast between our ancient ship and modern glass and steel skyscrapers in New York.
Walking around on our time off in Portsmouth
The crew became my family:
Photo by Karen Gajate, Smiling to the Wind
Then hurricane Erika was predicted to hit near St Aug, and we had to leave to protect our own boat. A four hour car ride, and just like that, it was over.  We were back from the 17th century to the 21st. I'm still (of course) processing the whole experience and there are things I want to write about in future blog posts.  Not a trip log, just "things of interest." Random thoughts from the voyage. Was I fundamentally changed by the voyage?  I don't think so, but then again this wasn't my first time at sea.  Still there are some new thoughts I hadn't thought before.

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