Sunday, June 03, 2007


Oh. My. Gosh. Went sailing on the Isaac H. Evans yesterday, owned and captained by my friend Brenda; it was AMAZING. I had such a wonderful time, came away relaxed for the first time in I can't remember how long.

Despite all the weather forecasts to the contrary, it didn't rain OR thunder while we were out. We even had sun! We didn't have much wind in the beginning, but the last half-hour the skies darkened up a bit and the wind picked up. The whole thing was just wonderful, though.

The kids had a great time. They actually spent most of their time running around with some other kids who were there, which isn't what I had hoped they would do, but okay, they're kids. Mark did his Pied Piper thing and attracted the very youngest kids, including a 19-month old boy (little towhead dressed in an argyle sweater vest! oh my gosh, the cuteness!) who got so attached to Mark during the 4 hours we were out that whenever Mark would put him down, he would immediately start reaching up for him. Mark is so good with kids, I think spending time with them was his favorite part of the whole thing. He made quite an impression on the passengers who noticed him with the kids....most of the adults knew Mark's name by the end of the trip.

BUT, they did get to do some cool boat-related things. The passengers are encouraged to help in some of the activities, including the raising and lowering of the sails. Mark and Kira worked the throat line on the mainsail. Mark also helped with the folding of the mainsail while it was being lowered. (I'm sure there's real terminology for that job, but y'know, I was impressed with myself for remembering "throat") BOTH kids got to take a turn at the wheel....Kira even tacked the boat! (is that right? Turned it around) Kira popped down to the galley and watched them while they were fixing lunch (which was super-yummy), and both kids explored all the cabins and messed around with the maps and dividers (we had NO idea what the parallel rulers were for and I never got around to asking Brenda).
For myself, I spent the majority of the time sitting on (something I don't know the name of) and just basking in the feel of the ocean wind on my face. My entire soul just sucked up the joy of it. I had forgotten just how badly I need to spend time on and around the ocean. Not *near* the ocean (as in, hey look, you can see the ocean), but in actual touching distance. Even today, I can still feel the roll of the waves and the wind, can still almost smell the sea air on my skin. I would dearly love to go on one of Brenda's extended trips (three to six days!). Unfortunately, budget most definitely does not allow for that kind of luxury for me. HUGE sigh.

After the trip was over (sigh), I stocked up on some basic gear (hooded sweatshirts for me and Mark, T-shirts for me and Kira, a hat for me (which I am wearing right now with my pj's--I am so fashionable), and a magnet for the fridge--Brenda brought us up to where her "secret stash" was for some of it, which wasn't stocked down in the cabinets in the boathouse (?is that the word?) yet) and we (reluctantly in my case) headed for home.

A small kind-of sidenote, in that Brenda is one of the most amazing people I know. She is quite an incredible woman. I met her back in '93 when I first started working at the bank--she was working there also, as a loan secretary. I feel immensely fortunate that I became friends with her then, because it wasn't too long before she left the bank to start crewing on a windjammer. From there she moved over as mess mate on the Isaac H. Evans in '95, and in '99 Brenda purchased her and got her captain's license. I went out on Brenda's first official Friends and Family trip (which has morphed into the Benefit Day Sail). In between the overwhelming amount of time and work she puts in on the Evans, she also finds time to do some really cool things. She's gone down to Kentucky to learn blacksmithing. She's in a steel drum band, she does a weekly show on a local radio station, she does the National Toboggan Championship each year, she does a ton of volunteering, she travels, she keeps a blog for the Evans...I can't even think right now of all the stuff she does, but I'll tell you, she is one BUSY lady. And yet, she is just so incredibly thoughtful and caring. We haven't been able to spend nearly as much time together as I'd like (I can't catch her!), but, as easy and understandable as it would be, she has never just let our friendship drift away. I feel very fortunate in that.

So. Yesterday was probably the best day I have had in forever. I know I haven't done it justice in my writing, but sometimes I just can't capture these things in words.

[Oh. Something I forgot to mention. Went to bed Friday night with my neck thrown out (again). Saturday morning it was spasming so badly, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to go. Shortly after we boarded, I stopped noticing it, and by the time we got back to dock it was just an achy memory. That says a lot about the healing power of ocean for me.]

The kids and I wrote thank-you's to Brenda last night (Kira's was four pages long....Mark had to re-write his because his first one was one part thank you and two parts hitting her up for a summer apprenticeship), and I burned her a CD of the pictures I took while we were out. Here are a few of them:

Two of my favorites of Kira at the wheel. She wrote in her journal that she felt like a captain.

Here Brenda is telling Kira how to tack. The wheel was a little stiff after the winter.

Tacking! Brenda recommending standing up for this, to have better leverage, because you have to spin the wheel as fast and hard as you can. Hannah couldn't stop herself from helping. :D

I love this one of Mark and Brenda. Brenda was the first non-relative I allowed to babysit Mark. He's grown a bit since, eh?

Amazingly, no little kids in sight. Not many pictures of Mark like that!

An actual family picture. (me in all my windswept, slightly sunburned glory)

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!