Murder Mystery

After six days aboard a ship full of teenage girls, the crew was ready to kill each other. So we did.

Murder Mystery started yesterday. It is like the game of Clue. Everyone draws a victim, a location, and a weapon, and when you kill someone you take over their current assignment and make it your own. You cannot have any witnesses to a murder, and you have to actually touch the weapon to your victim.


One of the crew, "D", kept a tortilla in his pocket all day until he could use it as a murder weapon in the engine room. "M" was suffering from a cold, but she managed to hide the lead line (a 60 foot length of coarse rope with a massive lead weight at the end) under her pillow in the crew cabin until "Dn" came in to bring her a blanket and was promptly murdered. "S" ended up trying to lure another person into the very small Pee Head whilst holding a guitar, and the Captain met her end with a drawing of a moose in the deck house. Meanwhile, I remain innocent and alive, since I can't quite figure out how to get my victim to come alone with me into the forepeak hatch while also trying to sneak in a three-foot long fender.

Good times.

New "People" in My Nautical Life

Jefe - The small gray pontoon powerboat that guides the Adventuress in and out of harbor. "Jefe" means boss, which is appropriate, since he shows he is the boss of everyone on board (including the Engineer) by refusing to start at inappropriate moments.

A-ya-shee - The small wooden sailboat/rowboat that balances out Jefe on the other side of the ship. Unlike Jefe, she is always cooperative and quite forgiving of the kids who, new to rowing, make her go in drunken circles.

The Llama Pinatacorn - (That should be a ~ over the "n", but I'm not sure how to write that character.) A prank gift from the good ship Zodiac, who makes random appearances within our voyages. The Llama Pinatacorn is at once a llama, and pinata, and a unicorn all combined into something far greater, and far more frightening.

The Duty Llama - Our ship is ful of llamas. The Duty Llama makes its home on the chest of the Duty Officer of the Day, making that task much more bearable.

The Barfy Brown Bag - Previously I had only one massive black duffel bag for all of my stuff, which resulted in a ten minute rummage every time I needed, say, a sock. The Barfy Brown Bag provides a miraculous alternative to this with its copious pockets and nooks. Acquired from a second-hand store for the whopping cost of $7, the Barfy Brown Bag features a nauseating poo-like color scheme on its outside and an entrenched odor of airsickness on its inside, which, luckily, sticks only to the bag itself and not my clothing.

The Mechanical Advantage Band - An up-and-coming new rap group. White girls go ghetto. I take the stage with a leopard print belt as a necklace and hollah, "Now is the time we talk about the wheeeel! It turns the ruddah, behind the keeeel!" Keep your eyes peeled for our album.

The Truck - The very highest point on the mainm'st. If you can kiss it, you get ten points.

And last but not least...

Mr. Floaty - Victoria B.C. still pumps all of its sewage, untreated, directly into Puget Sound. There's a grandfather clause in Canadian law that allows them to do this. One of the groups opposing this is People Opposed to Outfall Pollution, and their mascot is Mr. Floaty. Unfortunately, the Adventuress was in Victoria before I came aboard, so I missed out on having a picture of myself hugging Mr. Floaty. (Similar pictures hang on the fridge in our galley.) Mr. Floaty sings the song,

"I'm Mr. Floaty, how do you do?
You come from Victoria, I come from you!"

You have to love that.

Haul Away for the Windy Weather, Boys!

My repertoire of sea chanties is growing. I now find myself at odd moments of the day belting out, "Bound for South Australia!" or "Carry me to Shimbone now!" or "John Kanakanaka to-rei-oh!" And after a rather failed attempt at leading a chanty (I wasn't paying attention to the rhythm of people's hands) I semi-succeeded in my second go, though . . . does anyone's voice sound good when it's belted out as loud as possible into the wind? Eek. Not mine.

Our ship is quite musical. I think the act of sailing stirs up with it other lost archaic desires, like sewing ditty bags, knotting decorative lanyards, and rediscovering that every human being has the capacity to be a musician. Just last week our ship was home to three (four?) violins, a banjo, two three-string music sticks, an accordion, three guitars, and four-ish penny whistles, all of which came out to make an appearance at some point.

Also, at last, we began to take aboard three-hour classroom trips for kids, mostly 5th to 8th grade, which are organized so as to cram every available minute with some activity. Ding! the bell rings, and I lead my group of kids in a lesson about Marine Life, and then Ding! Now we talk about Plankton... (Ding!) I mean... Now we talk about Watersheds! Ding! I am scrambling around in the costume box to dress up as a Cascade Mountain for our skit, while the kids enjoy "quiet time" up on deck, and then we the crew go flail around with costumes and funny accents until Ding! Yay! It's time for Nautical Skills!!!

And so on, and so forth, and then there's an hour to cram in lunch and everything else before the next clot of children comes scurrying over the side of the ship. It's a little frantic, but great fun.

The fall season is halfway through now, so I've been ticking off things I've yet to do one by one. The other day it was shimmying out on the bowsprit to help furl the jib. A few days before that I finally got to drive Jefe, our small boat. Another crewmate and I casted off the ship's docklines and leapt into Jefe, where I promptly proceeded to flood the engine. So as the Adventuress grew smaller and smaller in the distance, I finally got the persnickety thing going and then roared across Commencement Bay in the drunken weave of one unfamiliar with outboard motors, catching up to her and docking at her side. A few days before that I got to "cowgirl," which means sitting out at the end of the main boom and guiding the leech of the mains'il as it comes down for everyone else to furl. Luckily, I had a couple of excellent Tonto-ers teaching me as I went.

So I am learning by the day, and that's just the way I like it. They say the sailing life is terribly addictive. Have I been bit?