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?