A bumpy ride and other challenges

(This will be the first of several posts about our family fall sailing trip.)

Sunday we and all our stuff left for Maryland and the boat. I’m not quite sure how we made it all fit into the car and find places to live on the boat. Alan is a great packer. I tease him about it, calling him a Master Packer, but really, he sure does master pack stuff into a space.

It’s funny how our perspective of living in that small space changes with the weather and our experience. In the heat of the summer, it felt way too close at times and made me feel anxious at times trying to walk without bumping into or tripping over the table or a child or whatever random objects were about. It really seemed quite cozy and homey this time around. The night before we set off, we got everything stowed, and set up the bunks for sleeping. Alan programmed our course into the chart plotter while the kids staked out their corners up in the V-berth. I wonder how long they’ll all comfortably fit there?

We set off in the wee small hours of the morning, into the dark while the children slept. They were all up by sunrise. They day started off beautifully, and we noted such sights as a bald eagle, a Navy ship, and the Solomon’s Bridge.

Once we got out into the Chesapeake Bay, we ran into a bit of a storm. Scattered rain showers and some fairly strong winds. The ride got quite bumpy. I actually rather enjoyed it as long as the rain was at a minimum. A pat on the back is always nice, and Alan used the word “fantastic,” not once, but twice, to describe my steering job through the waves as he reefed the main. (That’s right, using the lingo. Just don’t make fun of me too badly when I completely botch the lingo, please.)

A little choppy out, but all was well, until I had to go down below to do something or other for the kids. As soon as I got down there I started to feel a bit nauseous. My first ever bout of seasickness! Ack! From that point I was not good until the storm passed and our ride got a bit smoother. Any time I went down below, it got much, much worse. Yes, I actually vomited a couple times. I’m sorry to say we never did eat lunch that day. Alan was sailing the boat and I couldn’t bring myself to stay down there long enough to make something.

I’d never had any kind of motion sickness before so this was all new to me. Alan told me to keep my eyes on the horizon, but that didn’t really help any more than just being out in the open in general. I did find I felt better when actually steering the boat, which I attributed to the great power of distraction, but from what I read later helps your brain make sense of the motion.

It was perhaps an hour after dark when we reached our first anchorage: Horseshoe Bend, just off of St. Mary’s College in St. Mary’s City. Ah, rest, relaxation, and DINNER! Although we munched down about a dozen individual size bags of pretzels in that last hour or so of sailing, we were still rather starved after missing lunch. I asked Felicity what she wanted for dinner. Miss Picky said tacos. Luckily for her, I’d brought the fixings for taco bowls – our word for what are basically individually fixed taco salads. Cozy in our little boat, we had the fixings all set out on the table, while a propane camping lantern provided light and a little bit of heat. It was lovely, until the gale blew in from the hatch. This ridiculous wind howled out of nowhere, rocking everything. Our dinner blew off the table, filling our bed with a whole jar of salsa as Sam screamed for fear the lantern would fall and set the boat aflame. I rushed to hold the lantern steady to minimize the kids’ freak out as Alan went out to check things and let the anchor line out a bit. The wind only lasted a minute or two and other than making a mess of our dinner, didn’t cause any trouble. Alan got up a few times during the night to check on things and make sure the anchor was still set well after that wind, but I slept soundly after our long first day.

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