Wowza. So I've been thrown into the sailing world without a moment's notice, no time for catching a breath! The past weeks have been intense. By day one I was hauling on lines and by day seven I was manning the helm. (Albeit with the captain right by my side.) Our ship has more lines than I can count, and I've had to learn them all quickly and accurately, so that when the mate shouts, "Tack the lifts!" or "Ease the gaff vang!" I can run over and uncoil the right line without bringing the boom crashing down in the middle of the deck. We have a main-m'st, not a main mast; a foc'sle, not a forecastle, jibs, halyards, peaks and throats, oh my!
Luckily, the crew is loud and lusty when it comes to singing. We sing chanties to haul up the main sail and fore sail, the two heaviest of the bunch. We are woken up at 7am with a song and put to bed at 10pm with another (which I have sung a few times myself.) So much better than alarm clocks. I've had to stand anchor watch in the middle of the night for the past week or so, so I'm a little short on sleep, but the stars have been gorgeous, and even the one night it rained I was able to stand at the helm and just watch the water glisten off the shrouds. I've climbed up the rigging to the cross trees, not quite to the top of the mast, but it was high and precarious enough to make my heart beat. And, and... I've seen more of the San Juan Islands in the past few days than I ever have before! Hooray!
Our first trip out after the training sail was an Elderhostel group of about 19 people ranging 55 to 75 in age. They were a rollicking bunch. We spent several nights doing nothing but singing, and it was so much fun to watch them lay into the lines with as much enthusiasm as any of the crew. So many interesting stories too! One of them had working on the lighting in the Kingdome, another had worked with Coco the gorilla, and there were three mischievous sisters from New Zealand who egged everyone else on into the most hilarious antics.
As to the crew, there are 17 of us in total, mostly in our twenties but going all the way up to 60s in age. I've been arbitrarily assigned as Assistant Galley Coordinator, which means I can dive down into the galley and bake cookies if the mood strikes. Kneady Bubbles has also found a happy home aboard the ship, and I've been growing it so our chef (who is a gourmand and once worked for restaurants in New York) can use it. Um, um...
I'm totally running out of time, so I will write more, oh so much more, later!