Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Out to Sea--Figuratively and Literally

He: I think it's time for US to take our sailboat on another cruise.
She: Oh, really? Where are YOU going?

Giving up and turning around halfway to the Bahamas due to multiple obstacles (see last year's blog) apparently wasn't enough to discourage a serious sailboat skipper. And, once again, he bribed his former first mate with portraits of romance and adventure. (Why does she always fall for that line? She must be "out to sea"...) This time, the carrot was Martha's Vineyard.

She: "This will be the last trip, right?"
He: "Duh."

Embarkation followed weeks of toil by Captain Pope on the Edgewater dock--not to mention thousands of greenbacks sunk into that pesky hole in the water. Ocean-worthy rigging $1400. New genoa $1800. Lifelines $250. Bottom paint. Varnish. Remember my sailing motto: work work work play work.
Work work work work work play work

We departed Edgewater, Maryland, August 10, sweltering in our tight quarters in the blistering heat of a southern summer. In New Jersey the biting flies added to our discomfort, and the holding tank leaked into the bilge. (I'll spare the non-boaters the grim description; suffice it to say we spent three days cleaning, disinfecting, and waiting for the arrival of repair parts.)
Leaving home marina in Edgewater
In between work, I squeezed in play: a swim and tour of Victorian gingerbread houses in Cape May—partial redemption.
Cape May gingerbread

By the time we got to New York, however, play time was over. We sailed all day and all night. The waves ballooned into white caps, and giant commercial vessels—freighters, container ships--shared our space.
 Entering New York Harbor at sunrise, alongside commercial vessels

I have to admit it was thrilling (i.e., just short of terrifying) to sail all night and enter New York harbor at first light, dwarfed by skyscrapers and ducking under the Verrazzano, Manhattan, and Brooklyn Bridges. Passing Madame Liberty.
Manhattan skyline up close, from East River

We anchored and explored some lesser-known areas—City Island, an enclave in the Bronx with a small-town feel, and Port Washington, a dining and shopping haven on Long Island. So what if it rained cats and dogs and the boat leaked like a cracked cup? We were seeing the coastal US from a new perspective! Ha ha.

Having signed on to this working tour--oops, I mean cruise--somewhat reluctantly, I insisted on scheduling four play dates: Two visits on the coast of Connecticut to visit yoga sisters (Anita and Betsy) who used to live in northern Virginia and teach at Yoga in Daily Life. The third was a real play: Pope paused for a couple of days while I returned to New York via Amtrak to see Bette Midler on Broadway in “Hello, Dolly.”
 Preparing for storms on coast of Connecticut

Crowded marina in Mystic, Connecticut, where Pope waited for my return from NYC

The fourth play date is yet to come: two days at Rhythm and Roots music and dance festival, near the coast of Rhode Island, on our return trip.

For now, we are moored offshore at Martha's Vineyard, our final destination before turning around. I was hoping to enjoy sunshine, a warm swim, and relaxing on the beach. We did have a couple of beautiful days.
Typical summer cottages on the Vineyard

We bopped around town on bikes and visited a fishing village with a friend who has a summer home here. 
Fishing village Menamshen, on Martha's Vineyard

But then the wind blew, the waves grew, and we had a traumatic return from shore one night after dark, complete with blood and multiple injuries, as we attempted to climb aboard our rockin' and rollin' hobby horse from our small inflatable dinghy. Followed by a roly-poly, sleepless night. What's more, it got cold.

Tally: 6 for Amber, 6 for Echo II and weather. (Not counting minor hiccups such as bruises, smashed sunglasses, leaky dinghy.) Why, I'm practically ahead of the game! Or at least not far behind. Tomorrow, though, the wind is expected to gust into the high 30s (miles per hour). In anticipation, already suffering from mild PTSD from our perilous dinghy expedition, we moved from the roly-poly outer harbor of Vineyard Haven (free) to a mooring inside the town's breakwater ($100).

Let the weather come! Our rain gear is ready, and this first mate is an expert mopper-upper and trauma survivor.

- Written Tuesday, August 29, 2017

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