Monday, September 3, 2018

All in a Day's Sail

6 am Sunday, September 2, 2018--choppy Atlantic waters off the coast of New Jersey. Perfect conditions for seasickness if one were so inclined. Instead, swaying in my bunk, surrounded by beach towels in case of salt-water intrusion. Pope charting course and updating captain's log. Visiting crew member Dennis at the helm. The dinner dishes areunwashed and I can't get the tangles out of my hair.

My friends are dancing night and day at a music festival in Rhode Island. We made it to the western edge of Long Island in our trusty old boat, then declared "no farther"!

 We survived intact the East River past Manhattan in both directions. A maelstrom of swift and confused currents, waves, and wakes. A dodge-'em of freighters, ferries, barges, tugs, water taxis, and the occasional sea plane. The boat hops and jumps. We surf. "A free roller coaster!" Dennis declared.

Not exactly. The costs are in bruised legs and seared nerves. The passing panorama of architecture and history, the song of this city in stalled traffic and sunbathers in the parks, are the rewards.

Along the way we made new friends, a young couple who decided on a whim to forgo normal prospects like income and air conditioning to live on a boat the size of ours. Sealing cracks. Replacing rigging. Raising and lowering sails without the aid of roller furling or lazy jacks. Chasing fair weather and hats blown overboard. Cramped. Demanding. I admire their perseverance and ability to kick back and enjoy.

Yesterday, we caught up with old friends after chasing them uo and down the coast several years. They rescued me from a predictable future of boredom and comfort by convincing me, on Christmas Eve 2013, Browns Marina, Bimini, the Bahamas, to stay on the boat with Pope instead of jumping ship. Two hundred and seventy seven bites ago, from no-see-ums, gnats, pesky mosquitoes, and vicious Georgia and New Jersey flies. Blood spatters on the cabin ceiling, some dried long ago and others from only yesterday.

After trading rum and remarks for crackers and retorts in Pearl's spacious cockpit, we returned to Echo II to set anchor for a few hours of roly-poly, rock-the-baby sleep before entering the Atlantic.

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