Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Mike: Evan's Knife

This story was, in my opinion, the funniest moment of the cruise. Lindsey was showing about six of us how to splice rope on the tonnage hatch. Evan, a crew member, was busy hacking away with his knife because, occasionally, a finished splice had to have its loose ends trimmed off or an aborted splice had to be excised altogether. Seeing this, Lucas proceeded to tell him how to cut lines properly, saying, “No, you don’t saw lines! It ruins the lay. You have to put your knife on it, take your marlin spike, and just give it a good whack.” Taking the advice to heart, he put a piece of line on the chopping block pressed the blade of his knife down on it. With his other hand, he drew his marlin spike far back and brought it down swiftly on the back of his knife.

CLANK! Well, for all his enthusiasm, I can say this much for Evan: the rope was indeed severed. His mighty blow, however, had also severed the hilt of his knife from the blade, which was firmly lodged in the chopping block. We rolled with laughter as Evan furiously waved his one-inch stub of useless steel. Even Evan had to admit that he only got what he had paid for. Earlier in the voyage, Evan had mentioned that he had bought his knife from Bed, Bath, and Beyond and had sawed and sharpened it into shape. Evan wrenched his blade from the block of wood, uttered a few choice words about the quality of his purchase, and solemnly committed both parts of his knife to a watery grave.

Cindy: Challenging assumptions

Even though I had a wonderful time being back on the water and sailing, I realized that I came to this trip with some assumptions about people and I learned how incorrect those could be. This revelation has been hard for me to come to because I have always thought that I am not judgmental about people.

While I learned a lot from the crew about sailing a tall ship, the most important thing I learned was about their personal stories. The crew of the Bounty all had their own stories but one common thread that I found was that many of them were either taking time off from college or before grad school or hadn’t gone directly from high school. I took a semester off to figure out my life and so I shared with them the decision to take time off. I was pleased and interested to learn that the crew and I had a shared experience of taking time off and in some respects we shared part of the same story. Everyone has their own reasons for doing things and as long as they are comfortable with these and as long as they can support their decisions, no one has any right to judge them or assume anything about their intellectual ability or their educational drive. The conversations I heard on all decks of the Bounty rivaled anything that I would hear in a college classroom and they reminded me that many smart people aren’t in college and many not so smart ones are. Now that I’m back in school I have realized that just because you go to college doesn’t mean that you are smarter (and better according to society) than those who don’t. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you make better decisions. Much of the time I envy the crew who are sailing and traveling and learning new skills while I am in school and not doing those things. Deep down, I want the crew of the Bounty to come here and show some of the girls at MHC what it means to be smart and not pretentious or stuck up about being a full time student.

As I look back at my time on the Bounty, I’m glad I was able to sail again and to have met such great people. I have learned something really important that I want to carry forward in terms of how I deal with people, and I learned it from the crew.

Maria: Key West ambling

Unfortunately, just as I was warming up to the idea of blogging, the laptop was fried about three or four days before our trip ended. I have finally managed to pull myself out of my post-voyage languor and write down some of my experiences.

One event that I had begun a post on was our little trip into Key West. It seems like an age ago now, and yet, I can still acutely recall how I felt that day. I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable a day it turned out to be. Key West is a place of bars and tourist traps, and I really didn't think I was going to have much fun. The day began chilly and wet and everyone knows that such weather is not inducive to fun. However, as is common in Florida, the sun came blaring out, and the rest of the day was pleasantly hot.

A group of five of us went about together. I believe it was Allison, Mike, Rose, Nino, and myself. We didn't do anything particularly exciting. We ambled in and out of tourist shops, each one full to the brim with chintzy baubles and pop music. One definitive highlight of the day was stumbling upon the Key West Chicken Store: Where Chickens are Safe. The store acts as a fund raiser for a small chicken sanctuary devoted to protecting the loose, un-owned chickens that raise havoc on the streets of the island. They sell everything from t-shirts printed with witty chicken puns to chicken music. I personally preferred the "Aware of the Attack Chicken" signs, and purchased one for the door of my dorm room. After spending quite a bit of time looking over the chicken paraphernalia, our group ambled on down the streets looking at this and that until it was time to meet the rest of the class. The whole class, as well as Andy, the first mate, went to a great Cuban restaurant, after which we split up. Those of us going back to the ship had a bit of time and some of us went in search for pirate gear to purchase. Much to our chagrin, the only pirate store on the island was closed, and our quest had to be given up. On the whole, it was a day soaked in sun, youth, and friendship. Days like that are always memorable, even without large events to color them.
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posted by Maria