Monday, August 25, 2008

2008 Long Cruise

by Caitlín

Monday, August 18th

It was so amazing to get ready to go sailing in Maryland and not have to get up at the crack of dawn to be there in time like usual. We arrived at Henderson's at noon to unpack, get settled, and arrange some plans for tomorrow, so we had to leave Woodbridge at only 10:30 or so.

Rob Marks, the Scout joining us from Ship 306, was already aboard and had opened the boat up and turned on the reefer (refrigerator) so it could begin to cool down.

Once aboard we had to stow the food was, place our gear temporarily in either the aft cabin or the V-berth, raise the colors (me cleating off the American flag, above left), and fill our drinking water supply.
The engine needed to be checked, and we had a boat orientation. We also, without anyone but the Skipper and myself knowing, conducted a hand-washing experiment.
Skipper Shay put the Glo-Germ, a lotion that mimics the transferring behavior of germs, on her hands (and mine), and then we waited. Reading, talking and, in my case, writing in my notebook, passed the time.

The wind was perfect, but as our captain isn't arriving until tomorrow, we could only sit and watch a lot of sailboats go by on beautiful tacks with their rails almost buried.

Rebecca made a vegetarian chili for dinner, which only needed heating up, but unfortunately we could not get the stove to work, even with over-the-phone advice from Captain Nichols. But the chili tasted good eaten cold. Thank goodness something like spaghetti wasn't planned for tonight, because that would be really hard to eat raw. Yummy chocolate-chip cookies were for dessert, with entertainment by Gus (above) and Daniel, dancing to the Numa Numa song, played on Gus's iPod.

After dinner, Skipper Shay revealed her long-anticipated surprise to everyone. I had warned them not to be too excited, but they didn't seem to take me seriously. But I think they were disappointed when their crazy Skipper only turned off the lights and brought out a tiny black light. I don't think they were too impressed, except Daniel seemed pretty interested. I had seen it before, and still find it gross to think about all the real germs that are on doorknobs and things.

Almost everyone slept to sleep on deck tonight because it was nice out. Us girls got the cockpit and the boys either slept on the bow or on the upside-down dinghy at the stern (that was Gus because he's so weird).

Tuesday, August 19th

I don't think anyone got much sleep last night. There were too many ducks around that wouldn't stop quacking all night, and one board of the dock right near der PeLiKan was coming off and kept squeaking against the other boards. But we woke to a lovely west breeze and a building on fire. Not really, but the rising sun reflected off the glass of a sky rise and made it look like it was in flames.

Daniel and I had an adventure making pancakes for breakfast. The stove actually worked, but our batter-mixing technique didn't. Daniel brought a special mixing container, but apparently we forgot the shaken-baking soda experiments we'd all done when we were little, because we put the top on and shook it and then this happened:

Sticky flour paste all over the galley, what a fun mess to clean up!
The first pancakes came out underdone or a bit black, because the gas on the burners is touchy. But we eventually figured it out and had two skillets going at once to improve time. Everyone was so impatient to eat, but I thought they should have been happy the stove actually lighted.
There weren't that many pancakes, so Daniel made canned beef hash for the first time. I did not brave a taste because to me it looked and smelled disgusting, but the Skipper did try it, and said it tastes like it smells.

Just after the brief meeting the Boatswain of the day (David) held to determine whether cooks should also be galley cleaners (it was voted they should), Rebecca started writing down things people said, to save as humorous quotes (click to read the best ones). She took much delight in it, but not everyone was happy about being recorded. Daniel even stopped talking completely for a while. People who weren't on this cruise definitely won't have a clue what we're talking about.

Captain Nichols soon arrived and Aaron and I were sent to the parking lot to greet him and help haul his gear. (Me with one of the marina's carts, left.)
Then it was time to make at least some kind of plan for where to go and when. I suggested that we go visit the schooner Sultana, which--as the Skipper pointed out in her comment on the last post--would actually be in Chestertown at some point during our cruise. Since nobody had any strong opinions on doing something else, I called the Sultana Projects, Inc. line to confirm that we'd actually get to see her.

Speaking with Drew McMullen, President of Sultana Projects, I learned that the Sultana would be in port all day tomorrow, but sailing from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. For some reason I had assumed that tours of the Sultana were given, and was disappointed to learn that we would only be able to view her from the dock. But when I mentioned that we were a Sea Scout Ship coming as a group, Mr. McMullen became even more enthusiastic and said he could give us a tour tomorrow at 9:00. What a cool opportunity!

We decided to spend today going up the Chester River and anchoring there overnight before sailing on to see the Sultana tomorrow morning.

Plans after that were hazy besides that we would probably visit Annapolis, but we cast off the lines and got underway. The wind was blowing us right back into the dock, so we had to walk the boat back and swing the bow out, then bring the stern line back aboard.

As usual we motored out past the Francis Scott Key bridge before we started sailing. We got a good look at the skipjack Sigsbee (above) just before going beneath the bridge.

Around 1:00 (or 1300 hours) we finally put the sails up, but are still motor-sailing to make better time. Rebecca and Rob plotted our course for the day, but we rotated duties, so they also took turns at the wheel, adjusting the jib sheets, and on lookout.
While I was off duty, I either wrote in my notebook, or watched the waves leap to caress the hull, then sink back and gurgle the rest of the way down der PeLiKan's side.

It wasn't until about 3:00 that we killed the engine and could sail, but that only lasted for roughly 40 minutes before we changed course to go up the river and the wind died.
Two more hours of motoring and we arrived at Comegys Bight, the only named bight on the Chesapeake. You would think that if there are more than one of them (and I think there are around five), they would all be named because, as Captain Nichols explained, bights are a very useful thing. Quoting Wikipedia, "Traditionally explorers defined a bight as a bay that could be sailed out of on a single tack."

Rebecca, Mate Dan, and I lowered the anchor, then Aaron and I (with David's help) plotted tomorrow's course for Chestertown to Annapolis while Rebecca and Skipper Shay went for a swim (despite the jellyfish, they did not get stung). Daniel and Gus cooked spaghetti, then the boys played poker, and we watched a beautiful sunset (above) off the port beam.

After retiring the colors, it was time for the on-board Quarterdeck meeting. We decided that we all think the Amanda Grace should be brought down to Woodbridge and not given to the Carefree Boat Club for a similar arrangement as with Takin' it Breezy. She's ours!

Once that was over with we just relaxed while Gus pretended to drink his own blood. It was actually Kool-Aid powder that he apparently liked to eat and for some reason started licking it off the back of his hand. I imagine it tasted something like a Pixie Stick.

We didn't stay up that late because we had to get up early to make Chestertown in time tomorrow, but we all slept much better because it was so quiet there. A couple more people than last night ended up sleeping below because the wind had picked up just before dinner and it became pretty darn chilly for sleeping on deck.

Wednesday, August 20th

This morning we were woken up way too early and it was so cold! Everyone who brought long pants with them (and wasn't trying to be macho) wore them--plus sweatshirts.
(Aaron's method of keeping warm while at the helm, right.)

We went with the tide and were doing 5.5 knots, even at only 1500 RPM, but I still wish we could have been sailing up the river. Along the way the lookout spotted an iceberg, so of course the Skipper took a picture of it. In case you couldn't guess, it's not really ice, only an inflatable one that's part of an aquatic obstacle course.

We got our first glimpse of Sultana from the water, on our way to the public docks. Isn't she pretty? The lighter colored mast behind her belongs to the skipjack Elsworth.

It was a good thing there weren't many people around to see us dock, because it wasn't especially nice. der PeLiKan has two anchors, the larger of which, a Danforth, is kept on the portside of the bow--partly because the captains of der PeLiKan like to tie up on the starboard side. But this time Captain Nichols decided to dock on the portside, and the anchor became hung up on one of the pilings. So we had to back up enough to let it slip off.

Mr. McMullen--who is extremely knowledgeable about everything to do with Sultana--met us aboard and gave us a really interesting tour of her and told us a lot about her history. This replica is very exact, because when the original schooner (built as a merchant vessel) was bought by the Royal Navy to use as a tax-enforcement vessel, and the British Admiralty made a complete survey of her including detailed drawings. The swivel guns mounted on the rails are even made from casts of Royal Navy guns of the time period.

It was seriously cool, and I can't wait to come back for the Downrigging Weekend (or on a sail any other time!), but Mr. McMullen had a long-planned meeting he had to attend and the tour was much shorter than it could have been if we had time to learn everything we wanted to know.
Everyone who wanted to got a turn trying out the special pulley system for the tiller, as David is doing on the right.

After Mr. McMullen left we took some more pictures of Sultana and the neighboring Elsworth from the dock, and then explored Chestertown for an hour.

As Rebecca and I wandered we stumbled across...
Since we're the S.S.S. Blue Heron, of course we must take a picture in front of the Blue Heron Café.
We didn't even spend a whole hour in Chestertown. It's a cute little town, but there really isn't that much to see and the Sultana Center wasn't open yet. So Rebecca, Rob, David, and I went back and sat on a bench near der PeLiKan.
Mate Dan and Gus found something a little more interesting; they chipped in and bought two boxes of Dunkin' Donuts for us to eat after lunch.

After our more graceful departure from the dock, we motored down the river to the Bay and held School of the Ship on the way, including learning about how to use the VHF radio, safe swim defense, and working on knots required for advancement.
(Rebecca concentrates on tying a knot, left.)
I was proud that I understood some of the knots right away, and figured a few out before Gus did, so I showed him how to tie them.

We actually sailed (with no help from the engine) on the Bay for a little while before we had to bring the sails in to go under the Bay Bridge. It's not that you can't sail underneath it, but the winds are unpredictable, so Captain Nichols likes to motor and have more control over the boat.

Through the bridge we went to City Dock in Annapolis and picked up mooring #2, between the Wild Goose III and the Wind Whisperer and near a cutter-rigged catamaran, something I had never seen before.

Before we could go to shore, we needed to flip over the dinghy, put it in the water, and attach the motor to it. Plus Captain Nichols was tired of having the plastic registration plates on the sides break, so he enlisted us Scouts to help paint the numbers on either side with special "inflatable boat paint." I never would have guessed there was such a thing.

Daniel and his dad held the boat at a good angle, while I got the job of painting each number. It wasn't hard, but we only had taped paper stencils, so parts of the numbers and letters got a bit drippy or sloppy.

Rob had to leave, so after our dinner of mac and cheese, we made multiple trips in the dinghy to go ashore and see him off. And to get ice cream from Storm Bros, get a new power inverter from Steve Alexander (because the one aboard broke), and take showers! Being clean was definitely highly anticipated by some of us.

Since Commodore Alexander was there to drop off the inverter anyway, he joined us for ice cream and pointed out the Elf, a topsail sloop from 1888, which is docked in Annapolis and in beautiful condition--especially when you realize she's 120 years old (unfortunately, we did not get any pictures).

Thursday, August 21st

We had originally planned to spend just one night in Annapolis, but this morning we got up and learned that the pump-out boat would not be available until after 12:00, and there wasn't supposed to be much wind today. So we decided to spend another night in Annapolis and try to get some real sailing in tomorrow since the forecast was for 10-15 MPH winds.

Breakfast was an approximate 1.333333 eggs (with American cheese) for each of us, because David divided a dozen eggs between 9 people. Skipper Shay talked the galley slaves into adding fruit cups, and Captain Nichols also cut up the leftover doughnuts so everyone had some.

For stuff to do today we went to the U.S. Naval Academy Visitor Center and looked around, and Gus imitated the stoic pose of one of the mannequins depicting Naval uniforms.
We didn't spend that long there, as we didn't have enough time to take the 75-minute tour of the whole academy and unless you do that, there isn't a whole lot to see.

We wanted to get food at a fully-stocked grocery store, so we planned to walk to the nearby Safeway, which after probably a mile of walking, turned out not to be that nearby at all. It was at least as far we'd already come again. So we just went to a Rite-Aid, which was over-priced, but at least it had a bit more selection than we would find at a 7-Eleven.

I guess we looked like a sea of navy blue while we walked around town, and between that and my mom and Mate Dan's leader uniforms, we received quite a few looks. One couple even said,"Sea Scouts, cool!" and even knew where Occoquan is located.
Just wait until the Scouts get our real uniforms with the patches and everything, then I'm sure people will pay even more attention.

Aaron was the next to leave us, because he'd either sprained or dislocated his shoulder the night before--and had not told anyone. When he finally did tell, the Skipper called his mom and she wanted him to come home. So she arrived to pick him up just after we came back to the dock with the groceries.

Gus really wanted to go to the Ninja Café, a Chinese restaurant he'd seen the night before (and you should have seen the look on his face when he noticed it). Although he was disappointed that they did not serve General Tso's chicken, he bought some shrimp toast, which he declared "super!"

The rest of us ate grilled cheese, and then the head-pumping-out boat arrived. Eew, it smelled gross. Thank goodness I was not one of the ones chosen for handling the hoses.

Then it was time for School of the Ship, and then we got to wash the hull. That was actually pretty fun (especially when the knot in the rope tied to one of the buckets came apart and dumped water all over Gus), and something different to do. And after we were done, Captain Nichols said it looked a lot better, even really getting it sparkling has to be done when der PeLiKan is on land.
First David, Rebecca, and I climbed into the dinghy and Daniel and Gus were on deck holding the lines to keep us from drifting away. It was pretty awkward because the dinghy is just not that big, and as we tried scrubbing, our movements pushed us away from the hull. David started out rinsing by throwing buckets of water in the general direction of the boat, but stopped after Rebecca and I shrieked at him for getting us and the bottom of the dinghy wet.

We washed the stern and the whole portside, then Gus, Rebecca, and Daniel did the starboard side. In the middle of that, a Boston Whaler dinghy (so much nicer than an inflatable one!) came by filled with Sea Scouts from another Ship! Captain Nichols had seen a previous load of them going by earlier, and waved to them frantically because it is really rare to meet another unit while on the water. They saw our Ship flag, and came over to say hello.

Then their Skipper came over to talk with the adult leaders, and we learned that Boy Scout Troop/Sea Scout Ship 37 is from New York, and though their Troop has been around for a while, their Ship is only 2 months old. What's funny is that they already have uniforms, while we've been chartered a year next month and are still in T-shirts. Skipper Ken Reichner invited us to a "campfire" (no one could think of an equivalent Sea Scout word) they were having at 9:00 p.m., which would include singing and food.

It was very unusual, and while we ate ice cream without her, our wonderful Skipper even washed our worn-too-often-in-a-week Ship shirts for the occasion. Since the other Ship's dinghy is bigger, they came and picked up as many as would fit and then Captain Nichols also brought der PeLiKan's dinghy over with two more from our Ship.
Ship 37 does not have any boats of its own yet, so they have two charters. We met on the 39' 3rd & Final, which really is not big for however many people were on board. The first activity was camp songs (which I don't know any of, having never been a Girl Scout, nor attended summer camp). I think the other unit's enthusiasm was a bit overwhelming for some members of our Ship, but it was fun. David sang The Irish Rover for us (above right), and led us in Yellow Submarine--which none of us actually knew all the words to, but oh well.

Next was a short little dance party below deck. It was very crowded, and Gus went above to sit at the bow and "be emo." I decided to join him because I needed some fresh air, and soon a sudden flood of people came up also. We snacked on watermelon, told stupid jokes and stories, and just hung out.

Left picture, left to right: Daniel, Rebecca, me, Søren (aka "Sir" because no one can easily pronounce his real name), the side of Gus's head, the back of Ian's head, Rachel's eyes, and the back of David's head.
It's lucky there are any pictures at all of this, because do you know how bright a camera flash is in the pitch dark? You can't see for several seconds after the flash goes off, but at least two people kept on taking pictures.
Everyone in the above picture and some others exchanged email addresses, and we hope to see them again sometime. Maybe at January's winter training at Catoctin Mountain Park, if they feel like driving that far.

Thursday, August 22nd

Going to sleep around midnight and being awakened by your skipper at 6:00 a.m. is not fun. I had galley duty today, and began making French toast early.
Unfortunately, that meant that I missed when Ship 37 came by in both the Wind Dancer and 3rd & Last, to salute us goodbye and hand over their extra watermelon (somehow no pictures were taken of that, either). Their cruise was ending today, so they had previously stopped by in the dinghy to give us what they hadn't eaten.
We especially liked the watermelon and lettuce, because we'd had about three bags of salad that were frozen from being put in the coldest part of the reefer, our fruit supply was down to 1 banana, and we were feeling a little starved for something fresh.

We set sail for Saint Michael's, MD this morning, and it will take us 6 to 8 hours to get there at an average of 3 knots.

Once we were underway, Captain Nichols showed us how the knot-meter works (he usually uses a GPS now), because someone in the unit had been curious. It's basically a little wheel which, as it turns, creates magnetic charges each time one of the magnet-wielding paddles passes a stationary magnet. Before he put the knotmeter in the water, we tried spinning it with our hands to see how fast we could make it go, but we couldn't keep it at an consistent enough pace, and the helmsman reported a speed of "lots of different numbers."

The wheel gets dirty with marine growth very quickly and needs to be cleaned often to keep it accurate--which is the main reason it is not used very much since GPS systems became readily available. To measure the knots, the wheel obviously has to be in the water, and it is placed below the waterline in the hole that is normally filled with a plug. Captain Nichols made sure he had everything ready before unscrewing the plug and putting in the knot-meter.
The Skipper got a perfect shot as water just began to leap through the hull and into the engine room.

Throughout the rest of the trip, we compared that meter with the reading the GPS gave, and it was pretty similar, off by maybe a fraction or two.

Gus had Boatswain duty today, and he had a hard time with it. Giving orders is just not his thing, and he really wanted to help do stuff, but the Boatswain isn't supposed to do any physical work.

Arriving at Saint Michaels and anchoring near the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM), we put the oars on the dinghy so that we could each prove our ability to handle a dinghy to meet an Ordinary rank requirement. We decided the course would be a figure 8 around buoys 2 and 3. However, this was more difficult than it sounds, as inflatable dinghies are made to be rowed only as a last resort. Gus and Daniel went out first, and Daniel did pretty well, but Gus very nearly hit the green buoy. While they were rowing, a young boy--probably 10 at the oldest--also came out in an inflatable dinghy and rowed with ease. We thought he might doing it on purpose to show off.

I went out next, along with David, and while he was rowing three members of the Lyons family (Nicolas, Rheannon, and Debbie) from the neighboring boat came over to say hello. We had noticed their boat earlier because of its bright color, junk-rigged sails, and Captain Nichols' liking to test us on our abilities to tell ketches from yawls.
The family set sail from Wisconsin nine months ago, and designed and built the 39' Terrapin (shown below) themselves.

Noticing our rowing trouble, Debbie offered to let us try rowing their handmade dory. She and Nicolas climbed aboard der PeLiKan to visit with our Skipper while Rheannon went with Daniel and Rebecca as they tried handling a boat that was actually made for rowing. None of us rowed as well as the Lyons, but then we haven't had as much practice.

David went for a swim with the jellyfish, which thankfully made his feet smell better; I rowed as fast as I could in the dinghy so I could get away from them sooner. Then we ate the spaghetti I made for dinner, and then sanded the aft hatch. A lot.

Because the dinghy is usually kept over the hatch, there isn't usually a chance to sand and refinish the wood, but since the boat was in the water, we gave it a try. Even with 5 of us sanding madly, we only made a dent in removing the old finish. Eventually, after our arms were nearly falling off, Captain Nichols decided that we should just wait until an electric sander was available because it would be so much more efficient.

I spent a frustrating time this evening with David and Gus, charting out tomorrow's course for Baltimore. It was tiring for me because David, who was doing most of the work, wasn't communicating especially clearly to me. I was writing down the courses, buoy numbers, and distance, but he didn't tell me all of them. Plus, no one had explained navigating to Gus, who was completely lost, so, on top of writing things down, I was trying to help him understand.
We did eventually get it done, and then went straight to bed so we could get up early tomorrow and visit the Maritime Museum.

Saturday, August 23rd

(Today's sunrise.)

Rebecca--and especially Gus--also learned a lesson in making pancakes this morning: don't fill the pan half-full of batter. That was Gus's mistake, but Rebecca had the good sense to pour the batter back into the bowl, leaving only a few small strangely-cooked bits in the pan. The flapjacks they made later were fine, though.

While Rebecca cleaned the galley, I, as Boatswain of the Day, had Daniel and Gus put the motor back on the dinghy so we could go ashore to the museum. We were a bit pressed for time, so we hurried to clean up, but when we arrived at the museum at 9:05, we realized it doesn't open until 10:00, so we decided to go shopping.

On our way around the outside of museum building, we found these painted photo-signs and snapped some quick photos:

Daniel the crab...

Caitlín the fisherman and Gus the fish. Silly, but funny.

We wandered around town and bit and went to the local farmer's market and the Acme, a genuine fully-stocked grocery store! They had fruit, and reasonably priced soda, so we bought some, but somehow the M&M's didn't get rung up or placed in the bag with the rest of our groceries, so we had to do without. :-(

David and Gus made a run back to der PeLiKan to deposit the food. We explored the lighthouse, and the different museum buildings--which being air-conditioned seemed almost too cold after living nearly a week without it.
There was too much to see in the few hours we had before we needed to leave, so we breezed through.

Right: Daniel, Gus, and Rebecca (plus myself, who took the picture) check out the below deck of a skipjack in the museum. It was really cramped in there, only two bunks and about a 3 foot ceiling.

Outside, we met up with the Lyons again. They were filling their water tanks in preparation to sail to Annapolis, and invited us aboard Terrapin. It was really cool; very well designed to maximize both storage and living space. While we talked with them below, Mike Lyons showed Mate Dan and Captain Nichols things above. When we left, David was saying how he wanted to build his own boat and live aboard it, and Gus said he wished the Lyons would adopt him.

Soon, it was time to board the dinghy, wave goodbye to the Lyons, and set sail for Baltimore. Or motor there, as was the case.
It being a weekend, the water is a lot busier than it has been the previous days of our cruise. When we saw that the line for boat fuel was two-deep, we decided to hold off until the marina on the other side of Kent Narrows Drawbridge.
On the way out to the open Bay, at one point we had seven power-
boats coming at us at once. The wakes were really fun to ride, though. Especially for Daniel and Gus, who were cleaning the mud off the anchor at the time. (The bow is usually the best place to be, in my opinion, but you also feel the wakes the most.)

I didn't take many notes today, but it was probably around 2:00 p.m. when we came to the Kent Narrows Drawbridge, and had to call the bridge operator to raise it up and let us through.
Gus was at the helm, and steered us safely through (looking back after passing beneath the span, right) and over to the dock to refuel and, once again, pump out the head tanks.

As gas prices are high, and der PeLiKan takes a lot of fuel, we spent...
...on diesel. The numbers are total cost, number of gallons bought, and price per gallon.
The Skipper must have found this outrageously shocking, because this is one of three pictures taken of the gas pump after fueling up. Fortunately the Ship only had to pay for half of it, the rest of it covered by Friends of Sea Scouts of Maryland.

After leaving Kent Narrows, we just motored for a looong time until we got to Baltimore. Within sight of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, we passed by a cargo ship from Egypt, and a cruise ship, from which the passengers waved. We didn't get pictures of those, either.

We arrived back at Henderson's Wharf around 7:00 p.m., which was a bit earlier than we had calculated. Some of us were a bit disappointed because we didn't get any real night sailing in, but it was probably good we came back earlier because then we had time to hold another Quarterdeck meeting to discuss plans for the Labor Day sail, which we'd forgotten to talk about on Tuesday.
The meeting was rather scattered--I think because we were all a little over-tired--but when we finally finished we played Mad-Libs that were pretty funny, such as this bit from one titled "My Dream Girl":
"The girl of my dreams has cautious blonde hair scented like signal flags. Her eyes are like two pools of Coca-Cola. And her lips remind me of noxious skipjacks."
During this time, Mate Dan played Master and Com-
mander: The Far Side of the World
on his laptop. I had previously seen the movie and although finding it highly detailed, thought it mediocre in other aspects (Hello, where's the plot? How about emotions? Could we even come to care about the characters a little?). I enjoyed teasing him by saying, "Oh, I remember this part, it was boring." And then apparently Mate Dan thought it was boring, too, because here is what he did when watching it.

David said he wasn't tired, but soon he disappeared and when I next saw him he was on deck already asleep. He was so zonked he didn't even wake up when the helicopter with a searchlight whirred right over us. Not tired, indeed!

Sunday, August 24th

It was hard to get up this morning, as we lacked sleep and faced the knowledge that we wouldn't be sailing at all and only cleaning before going home.
We were slow to start, but brown sugar cinnamon and strawberry Pop-Tarts, plus some Skittles and M&M's from David's stash helped us wake up. Then David, the day's Boatswain, randomly assigned jobs using Skittles. Whomever pulled the yellow one out of his hand got the job of cleaning the head, whomever got the red one vacuumed the cushions, etc.
I volunteered to go first, thinking I'd have the best chance at getting something not-too-bad, but guess which one I got? The yellow one...the head. Eew.
It actually wasn't too bad, and wearing rubber gloves helped.

After the three of us had completed our major job assignments, David, Daniel, and I scrubbed the whole deck. David took control of the hose, which he used to "threaten" us to do things, but also to cool us off with a mist.
Clean up didn't take us long, really. We rose at 6:00 AM and finished cleaning and loading gear into cars and were on the road by 10:40.
The whole cruise did not seem like it had lasted a week--it felt more like a weekend--and I don't think any of us really wanted to leave; the sailing and company was just too fun, even after a week of being stuck on a boat together. I think that's remarkable, not wanting to scream at your shipmates to leave you alone after that amount of time together. (But on the drive home David played selections from his iPod that made me want to scream at him. Just kidding, it wasn't that bad--except for the Evanescence.)

If you have read the entirety of this very long post, congratulations. But I got it down to only 10 pages in Microsoft Word rather than the original 25 pages I'd written in my notebook.

Visit the Ship photo gallery, First Long Cruise Album to view more pictures taken during the cruise.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Long Cruise Quotes

by Rebecca

Do you wonder what scouts (and leaders) talk about on a week long cruise? I have the answer right here.

These are select quotes from the week. A lot of them may not make sense to those who were not on the cruise. (Some don't even make sense to those of us on the trip.)


"There's always a bigger fish." - Gus

"That's my line!" - Daniel

"When we have to do the amputation, you're not going to be able to walk very well." - Skipper Shay

"There's a really big lump on the dingy. Oh, wait, that's Gus." - David

"Daniel's actually going to be quiet." - Mate Dan

"I sometimes wish I was a girl." - Gus

"A helpful scout is a happy scout." - Skipper Shay

"Dog is quite tasty." - Skipper Shay

"If you have anything disgusting, Gus will eat it." - Mate Dan

"This is not going to be something we will enjoy." - Daniel

"Time to torture the scouts!" - Skipper Shay


"Who's Willy Nilly?" - Gus

"Anchor fun, Aaron." - Skipper Shay

"Super Shay!" - Gus

"Everybody watch what you say, she's got her quote book out again." - Daniel

"Wake up Gus, wake up!" - Caitlín

"Daniel, wake up!" - Everyone (said multiple times during the trip)

"I have a question. When do we sail?" - Skipper Shay on the Sultana tour

"Rotten brain cells." "What?" - Skipper Shay and Daniel

"Gus is so funny." - Skipper Shay

"I like potatoes!" - Gus

"I'm not good at pickpocketing small stuff." - Daniel

"Why are you pinching your temple?" "I don't have anything else to do." - Daniel and Gus

"I like pie!" - Daniel

"Bunnies are best." - Gus

"How shallow is super shallow?" "2.7 feet." Captain Nichols and Mate Dan

"Did she taste like root beer?" - Gus

"I'm a little evil, but not that evil." - Daniel

"Geez, we shouldn't talk around her." - Daniel

"Isn't that what fishing is: an excuse to drink beer?" - Skipper Shay

"Have you licked the skin off yet?" - Skipper Shay

"He puts powder on his wrist, then eats it." - Caitlín

"Boater's foot. We're not sure we want to know exactly what that is." - Skipper Shay

"Tie an overhand knot around something." "Ok." (Caitlín pretends to do it around David's neck.) - David and Caitlín

"Just enjoy bossing the boys around." - Skipper Shay

"That's the last quote you get from me, missy." - Skipper Shay

"Is that the bathtub boat?" - David

"Is there such a thing as bad ice cream?" "Yes, bubble gum flavored." - Skipper Shay and Mate Dan

"Are you eating your hand again?" - Daniel

"Gus, you don't have to eat your hand, you can eat cookies." - Caitlín

"He was checking his eyelids for light leaks." - Captain Nichols

"You look like you're wearing lipstick." - Caitlín to Gus

"Scrambled brains and monster guts." - Skipper Shay

"It's the Ninja Café." - Daniel, Caitlín, Rebecca to Gus

"Boys, you're creeping me out!" - Caitlín


"The tropical mix has red stuff in it. That's the only difference." - David

"Girly tea." "It's tea that bites back." - Mate Dan and Skipper Shay

"Tell me that's not beautiful." "That's not beautiful." - Skipper Shay and Mate Dan

"For a moment I thought that was Gus in the boat." "His sneaking skills have improved." - Skipper Shay and Caitlín (A boat passing us had a person who looked like Gus)

"Most of the scouts are un-ironed." - Mate Dan

"Pump out boat, pump out boat, pump out boat, this is Der Pelikan." - Captain Nichols

"1.333333 eggs!" - Caitlín

" I wonder what a jellyfish elf would look like." - Caitlín

"Did we run out of cookies?" "Yes, you ate them all." - Daniel and David

"Do we have a dollar store around here?" "No, what are you thinking?" - Daniel and everyone

"Buy canned fried bananas at the dollar store." - Daniel

"Then you'll look like an alien and bleed to death." - Skipper Shay

"My shirt does smell funky." - Daniel

"I wish Rebecca forgot her pen." - Mate Dan

"The tentacles of the squid are the best part." - Daniel

"That tasted good. Although a few hours later, I threw up." - Gus

"Mushy, smooshy, cookies." - Gus

"Ha! Black socks." "Ha! White socks." - Gus and Caitlín

"The weather, not the company." - Skipper Shay

"So, because it's me, you're going to try the shrimp?" - Gus

"No one else is mild, it's just your imagination." - Gus

"Red delicious are disgusting." - Caitlín

"Amazingly David and I agree on something." - Caitlín


"Point 1, Point 2, Point 3!!" - David

"If it's evil, eat it." - Skipper Shay

"The wings are not on fire." - David

"I've spent more time in the engine room than in the cockpit." - Captain Nichols

"This cheese is scary." - Caitlín

"Peace, love, gotta cut your hair." - Daniel

"So if I try to grab anything, I'll have to do it like this." (makes a gesture) - Caitlín

"No whining in the ship." - Skipper Shay

"The great big notebook of quotes." - David

"So next time you have a long cruise, the scouts will be in charge of everything. The adults will just sit here and watch." - Skipper Shay

"You were starved for a sailing experience." - Captain Nichols

"I'm always with the girls." - Gus

"If I'm lucky, it will scar." - David

"Your name's Kitty, so she should pet you." - Daniel

"It's covered in seagull poop. Don't touch it." - Skipper Shay and Caitlín

"Can I lick you?" - Gus

"I'm ready to set fire to this place." - Gus

"We're trying to make sure we don't crash into anything." - David

"My eyes are 3.2 nautical miles apart." - David

"Mine are 3.1 nautical miles." - Caitlín (about her eyes)

"Hello Kitty is crying." - Caitlín

"We're on a boat, it's rocking." - Skipper Shay

"We're sailing until midnight." - David

"Soup gloop sounds more appetizing than poop gloop." - Skipper Shay

"Three Crazy Ladies is one store." "Why add one more." Captain Nichols and Mate Dan

"Get the Sea Scouts to pluck it." - Skipper Shay


"Why is it wet?" - Gus

"Adults are creepy." - Caitlín

"Make me a steak." - David

"One of the two of them. Space cadets." - Skipper Shay

"Oh yeah, well my two rabbits are slightly more interesting than all of you combined." - Gus

"We don't care about the old members." - Caitlín

"Daniel is making weird monkey sounds." - Caitlín

"You have an extra bathtub?" - David

"They have four, but might have one and might have two." - David

"English is a stupid language." - David

"Bring your sister. I'll pay you." - Gus

"People are such idiots, I swear." - Caitlín

"Did Gus get attacked by ducks again?" - Mate Dan

"They're girls, you're never going to understand them, so just talk." - David to Gus

"I used to be a tree hugger, but then I decided it would be more fun to watch it all burn down." - Gus

"Massage your sleeping bag with a cow that has been soaked overnight in a sock full of warm Amp." Everyone doing a mad-lib

"The bride wore a long wet potato with goopy edging." Mad-lib

"When she enters a room, people always stare at her and say 'Frick!'" Mad-lib

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Downrigging Weekend

I wanted to visit the schooner Sultana as an activity to do during the Long Cruise next week, but unfortunately she'll be in Cambridge throughout, and not back to Annapolis until the day after.
But, while looking for that information I came across the Downrigging Weekend 2008 page and omigosh I want to go!

Several tall ships are attending--including the Kalmar Nyckel, Pride of Baltimore II, schooner Virginia, A.J. Meerwald, Lady Maryland--and there will be fireworks, a showing of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, a lighted ship display...and a dinner with members of the crews of said tall ships.

I think Sea Scout Ship 7916 should take a field trip, don't you?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Amanda Grace Sails!

by Rebecca

On Sunday afternoon, Caitlín, Daniel, Rebecca, Stu, Skipper Shay, and Steve Alexander took Amanda Grace for another shakedown sail. This time she actually sailed.

We put our ship flag up and got the cabin organized while we were docked. Then we checked the engine. The first time we tried to start it, nothing happened. Captain Alexander checked the batteries, and found that a bolt was loose. As soon as he tightened that, the engine started and we were able to motor out of the marina, put the sails up, and enjoyed the afternoon on the water.

Everyone got a chance to be at the helm. About halfway through the sail, the flies started to swarm around our legs in the cockpit. Captain Alexander used the new chart to swat the bugs. We decided that we should have one fly swatter for each person on board.

The Amanda Grace is a great sailboat. She responds to the slightest movement of the wheel, and has good balance. We almost had the railings under water, but each time we tried, the wind would change. At one point, a power boat sped up when it got next to us, leaving a big wake. The Amanda Grace rocked from side to side, but held her course fairly well.

We all hope to have many more sails on Amanda Grace. Stay tuned for more updates.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Car Wash

by Rebecca

On Sat, Aug 2, Ship 7916 had its first fundraiser. We held a car wash in the parking lot by Mom's Apple Pie Bakery in Occoquan.

The first hour or so was slow, but it had rained earlier in the morning, and was still sprinkling. The traffic picked up as the day went on. Sometimes we had three cars being washed at the same time.

All the scouts that were there took turns washing the cars, and some of us held signs up on Rt 123 to direct people to the wash. Caitlín and I found that jumping up and down while waving the signs really got people's attention. We even had one motorcycle come to the wash.

We raised over $300 over the 4 1/2 hour wash. One couple gave us a good donation just for washing the tires.

Overall, I think it went really well, and all the scouts know how to wash cars. (Remember: 'Start from the top' as Mike kept telling us.) And we all had fun, even in the heat. Everyone got a little wet, but no one got soaked.