Sunday, December 27, 2009

The moment you've all been waiting for...

We made it to Baltimore! (Well, OK, we made it to Pasadena -- my plans to change marinas will have to wait until spring.)

The trip was a little on the intense side -- sorry I didn't post when I got back. It took me a few days to recover, we had a blizzard, I finished school, Christmas came... I'm tired just thinking of it all. Sigh.

Where was I?

Oh yes. Well, I finally got everything planned out. Two days before the trip, I had a little monkey wrench thrown into the works when one of my crewmembers had a family emergency. I jumped into high gear, calling everyone I know. I had two people say that if I absolutely was in dire straights, they'd come... but finally I had a stroke of brilliance when Peter (crew for days one and two) was looking through his phone. I called Andrew, a guy I've worked with in the past and an all-around great sailor and he was just asleep enough to sign on for one day. The Solomon's to Annapolis day. (If you've been following along with the bouncing ball, you may realize that I had originally planned to go Solomon's to Galesville. Annapolis is just a bit farther and do-able, so I traded to make the trip more palatable to Andrew and easier to finish a fourth day early).

My dad would accompany us from Annapolis to Pasadena on the fourth day. And on the fifth day I'd graduate. Remember that sentence. It'll be important later.

Now, back to preparations.

The day before, I ran around like a crazy woman trying to get everything done. We were to leave Wednesday at dawn and there was a lot to do.

Monday night, my mom and I went shopping. First stop? REI. Despite the fact I lived in the Pennsylvania mountains for four years, I never acquired a great deal of outerwear. Perhaps because I like to be warm inside. I got new gloves, a big package of those handwarmer packets, a hat and two sets of long underwear. My parents were kind enough to make this gear my graduation present. My dad, apparently, had wanted to buy me a bilge pump. The need for warmth, however, was slightly more pressing than the need for a bilge pump.

Then to Wegmans, where I purchased $100 worth of food for three people, three meals a day, for four days. Not bad, considering.

Our meal plan was to have oatmeal and tea, coffee or hot cocoa for breakfast with blueberry muffins (which became our mid-morning snack). For lunch we had peanut butter and homemade jam with potato salad and more hot drinks. Snacks were cookies, trail mix, clementines, apples... and anything else leftover anyone wanted. For dinners, I tried to think of things hot and satisfying. For the first night I pre-cooked green beans, potato chunks and free-range ham (Peter eats only free-range meat) with homemade applesauce, cornbread muffins and, you guessed it, more hot drinks. Dinner on day two was free-range beef stew with cornbread muffins and salad. Dinner day three was supposed to be meatballs (which I baked in advance) and spaghetti with homemade sauce and salad on the side. That meal never got eaten.

I made just about everything the day before we left and packaged it into containers to be heated aboard the boat. The last thing I figured on wanting to do after a day of shivering was cook a whole big meal. So I made ahead. That took the majority of the day before, along with washing clothes, packing clothes, packing books and making lists upon lists of things to take and do. Peter, Sam and I would head down the night before so we could leave first-thing Wednesday morning for the long trip ahead.

Every time I take a voyage like this one, I get the pre-trip jitters. Forgetting something on a boat is nothing like losing luggage. You can't buy whatever you need when you get there. For the first two days I didn't set foot off the boat. Day three I stepped off to get diesel and didn't get off again until we were tied to the dock. If you forget it, you do without it. With the added factor of the cold, I had the jitters worse than ever before. Luckily Sam, one of my intrepid crewmates, had a class until 11 p.m. (he's about to be a diesel mechanic) so I wasn't pressured to leave early. As soon as Sam called me to say he was home from class and would shower and be ready when I got there to pick him up, I realized something -- I had forgotten to shower. The prospect of four days without a bath daunting, I took a five-minute shower and was out the door to the already-loaded car. I picked up Sam and then Peter and drove to D.C.

We stowed everything and, finally, at 2 a.m. we set alarms for 6:20 a.m. and settled in to spend one last night in front of the heater.

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