Wednesday, April 27, 2011

You Can't Have Nice Things

(The only cat I like enough to pet despite my allergies)

At least we can't. Since purchasing our classy new dinghy, it has become the permanent latrine for all duck passerby. Each morning, before clambering into our dinghy to go ashore, we thoroughly scrub the interior of it's...contents. In the history of our cruising, this never happened with our old dinghy. Apparently it was not even good enough for a duck to shit in.

(this woman knew she was jogging through our picture)

Monday evening, while leisurely making dinner, we noticed a squall line forming southwest of us. At first we thought it might blow over, but in the course of fifteen minutes it became clear that a menacing storm was building behind it and we were directly in its path. The usual storm-preparation ensued: cabin cleared, sensitive items properly stowed, cockpit secured, lines cleared, keys in ignition in case of a sudden need for the engine, foul weather gear made ready. By the time we had finished, a light rain had begun and lightning flashed every thirty seconds. The sky looked so threatening that we felt giddy in response. When we finally felt the full force of the storm, our anchor drug slightly but immediately fetched up. All of the shore was obscured from view, the combination of thunder, rain and wind erased all other sounds and we had to shout to be heard. Fortunately, that was the worst of it and the storm blew over within half an hour. We filmed the leading edge of the storm hitting us with our terrible yet water proof camera. Weather is so fascinating when it has actual power over you.

Once the weather cleared, Patrick finished making an excellent meal based on Kevin's crab crakes that he makes for us when we are in town. We only had canned-tuna, which is clearly not the same, but Patrick--who is a genius at combining bizarre, incorrect ingredients to emulate an actual recipe made something delicious. The final product:

(tuna cakes)
On a perfectly clear, warm afternoon I lay in the cockpit working on my first (and possibly last) Virginia Woolf novel, when Patrick suggested a sail. We were snug at anchor, and we had plans to meet Sean and Meredith soon. Since we had drug anchor in the thunderstorm the day before, I wasn't enthusiastic about resetting the anchor just before leaving the boat for the evening. While in the middle of saying, "no, I'm too comfortable here and we know the boat is secure" Patrick smiled devilishly and threw up the mainsail laughing, "you won't have to lift a finger." Which is of course, not true. He then hauled in the anchor himself and started tacking out of the anchorage, still laughing at me. He looked so cocky. "Don't get up, Alaina. I've got it." I didn't get up, except to make a mint julep.

I watched bemused as he single-handed the boat, tacking through buoys and ship traffic for an hour in a perfect 15 knot breeze. He then beam reached back into the anchorage. He perfectly timed furling the jib, and eased the mainsheet to de-power the boat to one and a half knots before heading up into the wind and releasing the mainsheet entirely. We came to a perfect stop and I went to the bow to drop the anchor while Patrick pulled down the mainsail. We have never anchored under sail for fun, and we have never sailed out of an anchorage before. It all went so smoothly, and Patrick only needed my help when the anchor needed to be released. I couldn't help feeling proud of how much we are improved that I am becoming unnecessary.

(me, useless)
After rowing ashore to make our way to Sean and Meredith's for the evening, we noticed this lovely woman working on a painting of the harbor. Swift Ranger was depicted happily tugging on her anchor, so we asked to take a picture.

It's been good catching up with Sean and Meredith. They always take us somewhere awesome when we are in Baltimore, like the divey bar Bad Decisions, which has an amazing name, and is known for it's specialty cocktails. Meredith says, "you can literally point to something someone else is drinking, order it, and not be disappointed."

(Meredith, Sean and their very well socialized Shiba Inu, Venkman)


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