Saturday, May 26, 2012

Full Circle

Our last anchorage on the ICW

As we sailed into Southport last Wednesday, I thought about how we had started our Antares journey in Southport almost exactly 4 years.  In May, 2008, Craig and I boarded a PDQ catamaran as crew to help Captain Martin Tate deliver the boat from Southport, North Carolina to Gloucester, Massachusetts.  It was to be a 5 night, six day passage 100 miles off shore and my first sail where I wouldn't see land.  We needed a meaty offshore experience before fully committing to life on a boat and this was a wonderful opportunity to jump in.  The trip gave us just about everything from a nasty storm to debilitating seasickness.  I had never been seasick before and was knocked flat before we got out of the Southport channel. From my journal entry on May 14th, 2008; Sick doesn't do it is an all-consuming violent launch of pain.  One can think of nothing else as the body becomes an alien invader of the mind.  Martin's response of "Don't worry love, you'll be get your sea legs in 12 hours" didn't help much.  I couldn't fathom getting through 5 minutes.

I did recover and the next day, wrote about my first glorious 24 hours offshore:

There is nothing tedious about this kind of travelling.  Winds and waves change, the seas can be deep grey, then royal blue with sparkles, then patched with aqua green.  Craig spotted a shark's fin and Wendy pointed at a sea turtle sunning itself on the surface.  During my first night shift while I was watching the spark and dance of bioluminescent creatures, a dolphin pulled up beside us for a few seconds."  I also remembered a quiet and peaceful fog with the sun filtered out by a white isolating blanket for a full day.  

We had six days of Martin's instruction and patience.  He points to the tip of his baby finger and says that is how much he knows about the sea but it isn't true.  What I like about him is his respect towards the ocean and all of her finicky moods.  He has been on the water all of his life and is still humbled by the sea.  

I was smitten with long distance sailing after crewing for Martin and we continued with the process of buying the boat.  Many of Martin's practices are alive and well on Alberta Crewed.  For example, we keep an hourly log when we are moving where we minimally track our location, weather, winds, boat speed, sail decisions, traffic, and any other observations that help us stay safe.  The log has come in handy on several occasions.  An example is our recent travel through the ICW where I added information about currents.  It helped us begin to see patterns in water movement.  Most importantly, it is a backup to our GPS.  We know where we are at any time with or without our screens.  I pay attention differently when I keep track on a regular basis.

This past Friday, we had the honour of hosting Martin and his wife Margaret, a seasoned sailor herself, for our last journey of the season from Southport, North Carolina to the boatyard in Wilmington where we are leaving Alberta Crewed for the summer.  Although I can point to a cell on the tip of my baby finger as an indicator of how much I know about sailing, I'd like to think I'm not as green (in all ways) as I was when I last sailed with Martin.  We had a glorious day and I was proud of how far we had come since our last time in Southport.  Thank you, Martin and Margaret.  

Martin and Margaret
Student and Teacher

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