Tuesday, November 30, 2010

36 Hours on the Atlantic - A Guest Post!

As most of you probably know, my brother Kevin joined us for a few days after Thanksgiving.  Here is what he had to say about it:

We set out early Saturday morning through the ICW and made tracks for the Atlantic. This excited me. I was fairly sure I would have to be leaving on Saturday to catch a flight, work, etc, but we had decided that we would do an overnight and go for 36 hours straight “Outside” to get me to Charleston, SC by Sunday night. Perfect!


I have never been out on the Atlantic in a sailboat for an overnight before, but I have sailed all my life, done a few Mac races, and spend a lot of time fishing Lake Michigan for Salmon in the summers. I didn’t even feel a little apprehensive. In fact, right before we got out of the channel, I looked at Britt and said in not so many words that “I am going to own the Atlantic on this trip”. Britt and Scott instantly shot me a stink eye and said “Dude, don’t say that!” I have a very healthy respect for the Ocean and Mother Nature in general, so I’m not sure why I was so brazen. It was a mistake.

Feelin' rough as a badgers arse.
Within the first hour the muffin I had for breakfast was fish food. I took a quick nap, popped a Dramamine, and felt instantly better when I woke up. We sailed through the day and the seas settled a bit. Soon, it was night watch time. On Mac races, I always found the night watches to be one of my favorite parts. Maybe it was the fact that you were racing and had some other crew up with you to chat with, but the solo night watches on the Rasmus that particular night were cold and seemingly went on forever. The stars were out in full force, but even those could only hold my attention for so long. I would hold course, look at the compass, glance at a boat off our port side, then back to the compass….and a mere 2 minutes passed. Needless to say, the 3 hours would tick by while you dreamed of having the next 6 hours to sleep.
After starting one watch at 4:00am, Britt popped her head up around 6:30 to hang for out for a bit before she took over at 7:00am. As she was messing about in the galley, I saw an out of place splash to my left, then another to my right, and another and another. Dolphins! A boat load of them! This was enthralling to me due to the past 3 hours of sensory deprivation, and these dolphins did not disappoint. What must have been a pod of 50 of them put on a friggin Sea World show all around the boat. Large dolphins, baby dolphins,  jumps, spins, surfacing right at the cockpit - and to my amazement - 2 of them even did a synchronized jump and half spin right next to us. That can’t be common. About they only thing they didn’t do was one of these little ditties.  This lasted for at least 30 minutes, and I’m pretty sure has to be about as good as it gets for seeing dolphins in the wild.



We continued on through the day and the seas built once again. Britt, totally unaffected by the building waves (or any of the seas for that matter), looked out over them, squinted, and proclaimed “There's a lot of mean looking Atlantic Greybeards out here…” Greybeards? I was feeling a little queasy again and took a closer look at the 10 ft rollers blowing in endlessly from the NW, the froth at the crests of the waves swirling in a way that I have not seen on lake Michigan. They did indeed look like the grey beard of an old man and I couldn’t get the term out of my head. I googled it and nothing came back, so I’m giving Britt credit for this one. (Editors note: I believe I read the term "Grey Beard" when reading about Cape Horn rollers...so, while this is a great metaphor that I would love to take credit for, I cannot).

After 30+ hours battling the Atlantic we went in about 35miles North of Charleston. I was completely exhausted and welcomed the still waters of the ICW. Let it be known that I am sure we could have made it, and the decision to go in was made by Scott who was for sure looking out for me. as I was having a hard time keeping any food down at all again. I have sailed with these two a lot, but the amount they have learned in the past few months is very noticeable. Both of them are excellent sailors and navigators and the boat they have built is a beast in blue water.

Hanging with them for 5 days aboard the Rasmus was an absolute blast. They are great hosts and even better sailors. I hope any of you that have a chance to cruise with or on the Rasmus take the opportunity, it will not disappoint.

Post written by: Kevin Stephen. Brittany's awesome little bro.
Thanks Kevy!! You were an awesome crew member and we can't wait to have you back in the Bahamas!  We love you lots!

3 comments:

Pullano said...

Wait...Kev survived 5 days without Xbox live..now that's and accomplishment itself!

Robyn Traxler said...

Kev, I think I have a similar pic of you sprawled out taken during a salmon fishing expedition!!!!! Loved the blog buddy!

Bill said...

The dolphin encounter sounds awesome! Hope you guys are having a blast in Charleston by now, we loved it when we went through there last month.

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