Final day of vacation, well not counting the day of travel coming home. And this was the heart of the vacation plan, a day long sail on a schooner. Specifically the Ardelle. I got up early, got showered and ready, and headed out. She sets sail promptly at 8, and I was NOT going to be late. The Ardelle had a crew of three, one of whom spotted my Innsmouth shirt and commented. The rest of the passengers were all sailing enthusiasts, some of whom had helped build or work the Ardelle. She's a modern ship, but built as close to the original fishing schooners used in the area as they could. I think I was only person on board who'd never sailed on sailing craft this size, (my sail boat experience is being on little 4-5 person boats), and I hadn't been out to sea on anything smaller than a cruise ship since I was a kid. Not that anyone gave me grief about being the new fish, was a very friendly bunch, crew and passengers both.
We headed away from the dock under engine, but as soon as we were out in the
harbor they hoisted sail. Well one sail was hoisted by myself and another
passenger. He'd done it before, and was in better shape than me. but I still
managed it. Wasn't til later than I realized that it gets harder the higher
the sail goes, as you're pulling more weight, not just fatigued from the
effort. Really glad the sails were modern synthetics, not old fashioned
canvas. Probably would make a good exercise plan...if you had the room.
So, I was on a schooner heading out around Cape Ann under sail. Sea was
pretty calm, enough wind to move along nicely, and some swells to make it
interesting, but not test my sea legs severely. Still don't get seasick,
go me. The weather started off kind of brisk and cloudy, which felt
great to me. So how did it feel to be under sail ?
It was....it was amazing. Nothing quite like how it feels to
go on the wind. I got lightly teased about how I was pretty much glued
to the bow of the ship, just looking out with a big ol grin on my face.
Pretty sure I wouldn't make the best figurehead, but who cares. Seriously,
if you like water or ships, find yourself some kind of sailing tour like
this and go. It's better then taking a cruise, at least in the short
The crew was very friendly, and relaxed. They took the ship seriously,
and even when they were joking and telling stories you knew they were
paying attention to everything going on. And since most of the passengers
had been around the Cape Ann area, even if the crew was busy, someone was
pointing out various lighthouses and islands, and history. Oh, amusement.
Using the head on this ship was....tricky. Basically you pump in sea water
to flush with, but there's a valve and a pump and...where you go. And
the directions, while perfectly plain and descriptive, did require a few
stalled attempts before I got it. It's not rocket science, but it does
require some coordination and it's not like using the toilet at home.
*laugh* Definitely RTFM (Read The Flushing Manual)
We stopped off
in Rockport for about a half an hour. Got some snacks. Then we sailed up
north to a little artist colony who's name I'm blanking on. Just stayed
long enough for some of the locals to see the ship, and to get some
pictures, then back out. By then the wind had died down enough that we
had to go by motor. Which felt a little different, and obviously was louder.
But still was a blast. Talked sailing and how he teaches sailing with the
captain, basically letting the newest crewperson man the helm, without
hovering, because you can't learn how these ships feel any other way, but
making sure that if something goes wrong, they know they're not hung out
to dry. Talked Lovecraft with one of the crew, who was the captain's
daughter (No jokes please), and had just gotten back from refitting a sailing
vessel in Singapore, and was working on a grant proposal to convert an old
motored fishing vessel into a small research ship. Otherwise everyone mostly
talked boats and ships and what to do when a fog bank rolls in when you're
in a one person kayak and your forgot your compass. (short answer, don't
forget your compass). Answered some questions about living in Texas, found
out the unofficial state motto of Rhode Island is 'I know a guy', and had
multiple people make subtle suggestions that I'd probably like living in
the area better than in landlocked Dallas/Fort Worth. Very tempting thoughts
We then sailed down the Annisquam river, which
separates Cape Ann from the rest of Massachusetts, making it actually an
island. Lots of people on the water, in anything from kayaks to big
motor yachts. Pretty sure we were the coolest though. *grin* Eventually
we made out out of the river and into the western harbor, then sailed back
to her dock. Definitely was the high point of the trip. Will seriously
be going back to sail again on the Ardelle. I cannot praise this highly
enough. I'm grinning now as I'm thinking about it.
Once we docked I headed back to my car. I had some vague plans to do
more tourist stuff, but honestly I was pretty beat. Oh, and the clouds had
broken about the time we went from sail to motor, so it got warmish. So I
ended up getting some drive through and heading back to hotel. I meant to
go back down to the beach, but there was a fair crowd, and I was pretty
socialed out. So I spent the evening reading/listening to audiobooks,
futzing around online, and playing chess. Sadly we didn't have much wind,
and what we had blew the wrong way, so it was still pretty warm. Had trouble
getting to sleep, as this was the first night the ocean was pretty quiet.
Did go to sleep eventually...then it was morning, and I had to go home.
Drove back to Boston, drove in a different way just to see more of the area.
Checked in my car, (got lost trying to figure out where to check in). Took
the shuttle to the terminal, got all checked in and my hair fondled by the
TSA. Flight home was pretty average, and got back to my car pretty quick.
Did not enjoy going back to 100 degrees. But it was nice to be home, in my
own bed. Even if I had to go back to my white noise generator ocean sounds,
instead of the real thing.
So, to wrap up. I had a blast. I definitely wished I had more time to
explore, but I made plenty of mental (and actual) notes for the next
Innsmouth visit. So many museums and points of interest in that part
alone. I'm glad I stayed by the sea, even if I didn't end up swimming,
there really is nothing like sleeping to the sound of waves. So yes, Virginia
there is an Innsmouth, and it's pretty damn cool place. Iä Iä Dagon Fhtagn!