Thursday, January 06, 2005

First day at sea

Morning flat calm. Captain Walbridge briefed the crew and had these words for the Mount Holyoke students. "We will take you," he told them, "to the Dry Tortugas. You and we will take the ship to Key West. Then you will take us back to St. Pete."

We backed off the dock at about 9:30 a.m. and motored down the channel. Then the students were sent aloft to practice their "up and overs." Mike scampered up to the main crosstrees, about 85 feet up. Nino, Anna, Maria, Rose, Natalia, and Cindy went to the main top, where they had a brief class before climbing up to the main tops'l yard and loosed its sail. Carly, Anna, Allison and Nicole laid out along the foreyard and loosed its sail, while crew on deck set three stays'ls. The wind barely whispered, however, and we motored on out past Anna Maria Island and down the coast. Nicole climbed up to the foretopmast trees with the first mate.

After lunch we laid about in hot sun and ran through some safety drills, including a man-overboard drill, after which the intrepid went swimming, swinging off a line attached to the main yard. While the sailors swam off the port side, three dolphins snorted and dove to starboard.

The captain spent his first day on the phone.
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posted by Chris