Let me start with the bad, if only so I can leave on a high note. As I write this, I am the kind of giddy happy that occurs when things have gone badly, but are now a distant memory (kind of like childbirth pain).
I hope, dear reader, that you do not feel I am sugar coating the bad. I promised honesty, so here it is, in all it’s ugliness:
- Soy Sauce. “Oh no! There’s blood on the teak! Where’s that coming from?” Mike asked, alarmed. (No blood on the teak is an iron clad rule.) We are motoring down the East River, the tall buildings of New York City to starboard, Brooklyn to Port. Turns out, it’s Mike’s blood (I am simply thrilled it is not mine) because he was barefoot (violation of his own rule) and had hit his toe on something or other. But this paragraph is not entitled, “blood,” is it? Going below to round up cleaning supplies, I noticed a brown liquid seeping onto the floor, and it smelled like we had just brought in Chinese food. “Now where would that be coming from?” I wondered, but not for long. An entire bottle of soy sauce had spilled in the top cabinet, seeped through to the lower cabinet, seeped behind the cushions in the salon (covering them with soy sauce) and then through the cracks in the boat onto the floor. Soy sauce was basically on everything—cushions to floorboards. “Captain, we have a problem,” I reported as a dutiful first mate.
- Disdain. I am pretty sure that no one in the history of sailing has ever brought an electric upholstery cleaner on board their ship (I barely have room for my clothing). Before we left, Mike wanted to take it. In no uncertain terms, I told him that was idiotic. He brought it anyway. He turned out to be right, because the cushions now have no trace of soy sauce. I hate when he’s that right.
- Intruders. One night at the dock in Brooklyn, intruders came on to our boat. Nothing like that has ever happened to us before, and I must say, it was frightening. Luckily, instead of sleeping, I was awake at 2 AM when they boarded our boat, sending my daughter NYTimes articles that she will never read. With a gigantic,“Get the F%*K out of here!”, I scared them off before they came below. It turns out it was probably just kids looking for a place to drink, which makes the whole prospect of ever having a gun on board (which we debated) frightening to think about.
- Weather. It rained about half the time we were in Brooklyn, and we haven’t seen even a hint of sunshine in the last 4 days.
- Salt. Our overnight from Atlantic Heights, New Jersey to the Chesapeake was extremely “salty” (this was the forecast from weather guru Chris Parker) which I have come to understand is a euphemism for “scary.” High winds, difficult navigation, rolling seas, squalls, and no sleep, due to all of the foregoing. Basically, this night sucked, and makes me so nervous for the long passage to come.
- Testy. Upon finally reaching our destination in the Chesapeake, exhausted and testy with the world and each other, we realized not only did our repair on the front hatch not work (water leaked on the bed), but one of the heads (that’s sailor talk for toilet) was broken. In my sleep deprived state, apparently I improperly disposed of a face cleansing towelette that I use occasionally to wash up when I am too tired to do a proper job. I tried to deny it, but Mike held it up to me as evidence after he had taken the toilet apart. I continued to deny it, and told him to go wash his hands.
- Stray Parts. We found a metal piece on deck and we have absolutely no idea where it came from.
- Uncertainty. When I said to Mike, when we finally reached the Chesapeake, “I am not sure I am strong enough to handle this,” he responded with, “I’m not sure I am either.”
So there you have it.
But that was yesterday, and now we have slept, and oh what a good sleep it was.
Now, I am remembering the good:
The high of sailing down the East River in Manhattan, at the same level of the cars and the runners on the FDR drive, seeing Lady Liberty at the end of the river, was something that was so thrilling it made me say the Hebrew prayer of thanksgiving, Shehechyanu, to myself as we traveled down the river.
The view from our dock slip of lower Manhattan:
Being a 5 minute walk from Brooklyn Heights and all that Brooklyn offers, and spending time with my daughter and her boyfriend, my brother, and my cousin’s kid and his wife.
Sailing around Lady Liberty on a perfect, blue-skied day.
The four dolphins that emerged beside our boat in Sandy Hook bay.
The swim off the boat in Atlantic Heights on a hot and sunny afternoon (the one day of sun…)
The unbelievable warmth of everyone we have encountered since we arrived on the Chesapeake- people who say, “hello” when you pass them on the street or dock, people who recognize you as boaters and offer you rides back to the marina, and service people who are kind and friendly and seem genuinely pleased you have encountered them. So not New England.
I have no pictures of the bad. The bad happens too quickly. We don’t take pictures of intruders or soy sauce soaked cushions, or broken toilets, or rough nights at sea. I only have this picture to memorialize how tired we were at the end of our overnight passage.
All the good stuff, of course, I posted to Instagram or Facebook. You can find the sugar-coated pictures there.