Saturday, January 08, 2005

Chris: Friday II

The big event of the morning was a school of dolphins herding fish, swimming in tight circles and slapping their tails.

We spent the afternoon doing evolutions – maneuvering the ship down wind, wearing ship, or jibing to small boat sailors. The three watches were assigned respective masts, and then rotated among the masts, so that they learned the similarities and the differences. The wind was too light for us to tack into the wind, but not too light to attempt a "boxhaul." Boxhauling is a special maneuver in which the ship is turned in its own length. We ran her up into the win, backed all her sails against their masts, then spun the helm over to the other side and sailed backwards into a "J" and sailed off in a different direction. I had the privilege of manning the helm and thus shared the overview with the captain. For tall ship aficionados, boxhauling is the cat's pajamas. With thirty of us on deck, the maneuvers went very well. For the captain to attempt a boxhaul suggests confidence in our collective capabilities.

As we were performing our last maneuver, the captain pulled yet another man overboard drill and we got the boat over in record time. Then the first mate, Andy, too Rose and Anna out to film the ship under sail.

We are now about thirty miles north of the Dry Tortugas, with 36 hours before our permit to land goes into effect, so we will heave to for the evening, the fors'l turned to starboard, the main tops'l to port, the spanker set to starboard and the helm lashed to leeward. That's what it takes to park a square-rigger in a seaway. Oh, yes, we will turn on our deck lights so that no one runs us down. That is not likely.

Visibility is excellent. The sea is calm, we are out of the shipping lanes, and haven’t encountered any traffic all day.
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posted by Chris

Carly: Friday

I was sitting on Bow Watch last night at 2200 looking around at the endless sea that was surrounding me and starry sky above me and I finally realized how amazing it was that I was out here. There is no land or anything that would show me how I got out here in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico from Connecticut. I opted for this experience because I knew that it would be an unbelievable experience that would be totally different from anything that I’ve ever done. So far it is certainly living up to that. I never thought that on the first day I would be up on a yard furling a sail about 40+ feet over the water. I’m not saying that I feel comfortable doing it, but the fact that I can do and know that I am capable, whether I like it or not, is truly a big step for me.

On 'A Watch' I’m working the 8-12 shift for now, which is great by me. When I’m not on watch or doing work party I’m either sleeping, tanning or it’s mealtime. I’ve been designated as the “techie” so I’m sending the blogs and hope to send photographs soon. While on watch I’m been doing bow watch, which is probably my favorite simply because it’s very serene, and seeing the dolphins jumping in front of the bow is great. I am also learning navigation, how to do a boat check and I’m even working at the helm steering the boat. I’m learning a lot and the people here are all great.

We’re currently sailing, not using the engine and we’re also not using GPS due to a 'major electronic failure'. We’re currently sailing at about 1.6 knots, slowed down from about 3 knots this morning. At 800 when I got on watch this morning we were about 50 miles from Dry Tortugas so we are going to take our time because we are not scheduled to be there until daybreak on Sunday. We spent the afternoon doing different maneuvers called evolutions. I’m sure I will feel it in the morning. However because we are so close to the Dry Tortugas we have “parked” the ship, which means we all only have to be on watch for one hour as opposed to our usual four so many members of the crew are taking advantage of more hours of sleep. I write this before I go on watch with the sounds of “Treasure Island” and crewmembers cheering every time we see our beloved ship.

I hope everything is well on the mainland. This lack of communication is something I have yet to get used to.
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posted by Carly